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Modern seismology as a scientific discipline came of age in the early 20th century. Modeled over physics its practitioners built their theories on quantitative and objective data obtained by new and increasingly sensitive seismographs. As the sophistication of instruments increased so did the scientific network connecting the seismic stations. Data was routinely published in bulletins and exchanged through global networks, organized by international geophysical societies like Association Internationale de Séismologie and its national committees.
The societies actively initiated and coordinated international research through conferences and journals, especially in Europa where the seismologists were few, but networks also developed between individual seismologist and across societies.
In Denmark Inge Lehmann was the nation’s sole seismologist from 1928 to 1952 and in charge of the seismic stations in Denmark and Greenland. As questions about the Earth´s inner structure was on the forefront of the scholarly discussion, Inge Lehmann was puzzled by her observation of the way some seismic waves passed through the Earth. In 1936 she published her finding, proposing a two-shell Earth model to account for existence of P-waves in the Earth’s shadow-zone, exemplified in a single New Zealand earthquake. (1) Her theory about the Earth having an inner core was well received and became widely accepted within the following years.
Based upon Inge Lehmann´s correspondence, which previously has not been available for research, this paper explores the interplay between national research and international scientific networks in 1930s European seismological research, as expressed in Inge Lehmann´s study of P-waves.