- Gebundene Ausgabe: 512 Seiten
- Verlag: DK; Auflage: 01 (1. August 2012)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1409383148
- ISBN-13: 978-1409383147
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 22,1 x 3,5 x 26,1 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 43.595 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Science: The Definitive Visual Guide (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 1. August 2012
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A visual delight for the general reader... a triumph of science communication. (Chemistry World)
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Adam Hart-Davis has worked and presented on major TV series including Local Heroes, Top Ten Treasures, Tomorrow's World, What The Stuarts Did For Us, What The Victorians Did For Us, What The Romans Did For Us, and What The Ancients Did For Us.
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"Science" is helpful principally for young people who want a general overview of the progress of knowledge about our world, from its smallest elements to the vastness of the expanding universe, and who wish to achieve a quick grasp of basic terminology and principles. The coverage is a mile wide and an inch deep, but it does a good job of inspiring interest in the varied subjects it tackles. For in-depth information, more scholarly books will need to be consulted.
The book is divided into five main eras: The Dawn of Science (before 1500), The Renaissance & Enlightenment (1500-1700), The Industrial Revolution (1700-1890), The Atomic Age (1890-1970), and The Information Age (after 1970). It traces the development of science from the earliest natural philosophers -- Aristotle and Alhazen, for example -- to modern scientists like Turing and Feynmann, and from early breakthroughs such as heliocentrism and the laws of gravity to recent ones like the atomic bomb and the structure of DNA.
At the same time, scientific and mathematical principles are given good layman's explanations in words and pictures: algebra and geometry, buoyancy, inertia and friction, speed and velocity, optics, taxonomy, navigation, organic chemistry, thermodynamics, probability and statistics, evolution, digestion and reproduction, the periodic table, acids and bases, bacteria and viruses, electromagnetism, radiation, relativity, the Big Bang, fission and fusion, genetics, astronomy, ecology, plate tectonics, global warming, string theory, and much more.
Inventions are given equally broad treatment: simple machines, gunpowder, printing, telescopes and microscopes, the steam engine, batteries and electric motors, surgery, immunization and vaccination, artificial lighting and electricity generation, the telephone, photography, the radio, flying machines, penicillin, plastics, rockets, codes, lasers, microchips, satellites, space travel, the Internet, artificial intelligence and robotics, in vitro fertilization and cloning, nanotechnologies, renewable energy, and yes, much more.
I would particularly recommend this book to parents of middle- or high-schoolers who want to both pique their curiosity and answer their questions in clear, interesting ways. There are diagrams and brief biographical sidebars on most of the two-page spreads, as well as two-page timelines, summaries of turning points in the evolution of science, and somewhat more comprehensive biographies of major figures like Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Edison, and Einstein. The book ends with an extensive quick reference, including sections on measurement, astronomy, earth sciences, biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, in addition to a "who's who," a glossary, and an index.
The book is organized historically rather than by subject matter. Of course the upside is that you can get a sense of the sequence and timing with which scientific ideas emerged. But the downside is that the coverage of any given subject (eg, physics, chemistry, or biology) is scattered intermittently across many pages, so this format isn't ideal for systematically learning particular subjects.
Also, the scope of the book includes a significant amount of technology rather than strictly science. That isn't necessarily a problem, and of course there has always been interaction between science and technology, but failing to make a clear distinction between science and technology contributes to the public's mistaken conflation of the two.
Finally, regarding coverage of science itself, this book does a good job of explaining the basics and providing interesting historical details, but it doesn't go very deep into anything. As is typical for a DK book, the level is somewhere near the lower end of the popular science spectrum, and certainly well below university science courses. That's not inherently a problem, but something for readers to be aware of.
The net result is that I can recommend this book to kids and adults with a general interest in science, but people with a serious interest in science (and looking for rigor) may find this book too limited for their needs, although they might still find it to be a fun book for casual reading.
The content is well developed and substantial, though it suffers from the same shortcomings that other general histories of science betray, and which seem to be a product of the current academic narrow-sightedness in the history of science. First, there is a strong emphasis on the physical sciences and astronomy at the expense of the biological sciences. Also there is a pronounced British-American orientation to the narrative, again at the expense of other cultures contributing strongly to the history of science (Germany being the most obvious example). Knowing the history of German science as well as I do, there is no question in my own thinking that Germany contributed more to the history of science and technology than either Britain or France, and yet this book (as well as many other English-language texts) simply assumes that the history of science was largely a British and French affair. The evidence for Germany's contributions are around us everywhere, from the number of Nobel Prize winners over the past century, to the most critical discoveries in quantum theory, on through to our households being filled with Braun, Krups, and Bosch (etc etc etc) appliances and tools. Companies like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes define the finest in automobile engineering and design--what can one say about British appliances, tools, or automobiles? German science dominates in a number of current and emerging areas, such as environmental science and the conservation of natural resources. It seems pretty silly to read a book on the history of science like this one, and to have it be dominated by British and French scientists and their discoveries, and then suddenly come to a present dominated by German science and technology. How do these historians of science reconcile this?
Finally, the book simply ignores what is arguably the most significant--and interesting--scientific discipline: anthropology. This is astonishing, since one of the most fascinating narratives in the history of science is the transformation of medicine, travel narratives, and human biology into the field of anthropology in the late 18th and 19th centuries. How do we come to view man as a part of nature, subject to the same physical laws as all other scientific phenomena? Again, as with other histories of science, this book simply goes over the same old biographical terrain of Darwin, instead of treating him as only a stepping stone in this development, and in covering the topic more fully.
In the end, the book does represent a milestone in the popular literature on the history of science in its presentation, but unfortunately does not break new ground in providing a more comprehensive, updated narrative that incorporates new perspectives, and in addressing the shortcomings of other histories of science coming out of academia.
For those buying the PAPERBACK version of this book, please note there's a size (dimensions) difference. The typeface can be quite small on some pages to accommodate the reduced dimensions.
The only thing that would be a nice add-in would be a website or a 'for further reading' for each topic.