9780304359189 / 0304359181

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About the book:

The Science Book is a big, handsome, lavishly illustrated coffee-table book. In 250 brief sections, it attempts to encapsulate the history of Western science, from astronomy and physics to geology, biology and psychology and everything in between. It's a huge undertaking, even a potentially foolhardy one, as the editor Peter Tallack acknowledges, but the choice of topics has been carefully made, and as an introduction to the breadth of scientific endeavour it succeeds well. The writing itself is straightforward, giving very brief biographies of scientists from Pythagoras to Stephen Hawking alongside the broad outlines of their work. Each one-page essay is accompanied by a full-colour illustration, ranging from Renaissance paintings to the latest images from space. Cross-references to other pages help to establish links between different discoveries. There is an index, but sadly no suggestions for further reading for anybody whose curiosity has been piqued. And piqued it almost certainly will be. Inevitably in a book of this scope, nothing is covered in any depth. It does, however, give a good overview of how science is done, how different disciplines interrelate and where the cutting edge is right now. And its presence on the coffee table will no doubt spark all kinds of discussions as guests leaf through its pages. --Elizabeth Sourbut

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