Mount Tambora’s eruption in 1815 was indeed revolutionary. It heavily disrupted the global weather system and thus had serious impacts on politics, economy, society, and culture. However, not only the eruption itself was a revolution, but Professor Wood’s study of the Tambora eruption is also revolutionary.

In April 1815, Indonesia’s Mount Tambora erupted. The magnitude, coupled with its tropical location, made the eruption one of the most powerful volcanic activities in recorded history. The huge effect can be seen all over the world, from the totally destroyed Sumbawa island to the melting Arctic, from the literary creations in “the year without summer” to the political instabilities in Europe, from the cholera dispersion among the globe to famine and depression across the Atlantic Ocean.

In the past, researchers and scholars usually studied these events individually. This is absolutely reasonable. This allowed researchers to concentrate on their respective areas of expertise, and allowed them to delve further into one particular subject. At the same time, this research method might have prevented researchers from seeing the big picture and finding the subtle teleconnections in global events. For example, before Professor Wood, the dominating opinion concerning the cause of the depression in Europe in 1816 was the large scale demobilization of army after the Napoleon war. This conclusion is reasonable and backed by numbers. However, Professor Wood urged us to entertain the idea that the Tambora eruption caused global cooling, thus the crop failure in Europe, thus the market failure, and finally the depression. I cannot say whether one of the theories is sounder than the other, but I can say that Professor Wood definitely has a valid point.

When an expert in literature reads Lord Byron’s Darkness or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, when a political theorist tries to figure out the reason behind the millennium cults in 1816, when economists studies the 1816 depression, when meteorologists studies the weather pattern of the earth, when Professor Wood himself first stood on the edge of the Tambora caldera – none of them can connect the dots of all the seemingly irrelevant events. Only when we, with the help of Professor Wood’s insight and extensive data in this age of information, think outside the box and get away from the established rules of the academia, can we fully appreciate worldwide events such as the Tambora eruption.

As the Tambora study gained acceptance in the academia and the public, the merits of interdisciplinary study will be more recognized and appreciated in the future. In this sense, Professor Wood’s study is truly revolutionary. It teaches the public to see the connections between seemingly unrelated events with a broad perspective, opens a window for scholars, and creates countless opportunities for future researches.