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Sciencia: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry,…

Sciencia: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Astronomy for All…

by Burkard Polster

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Sciencia is a collection of smaller science books on a variety of topics including math, physics, chemistry, evolution, anatomy, and astronomy, each of which are composed of 1-page overviews of various concepts related to that particular field. It's not exactly designed to give the reader much depth, but as a sort of catch-all collection of just about everything, it works well enough. Each "page" is dedicated to something like, say; natural selection, parabolas, The Red Queen, quantum mechanics, or the circulatory system. Each page is accompanied with a full page of charts, diagrams, or other helpful pictures that demonstrate whatever is being discussed on the opposite page.

The books are written by different authors, so there are varying degrees of awesomeness and suckitude. I found the physics books to be nigh unreadable, as it is basically a giant collection of math formulae with very little alliteration whatsoever. It would make for a great reference book, but it's not particularly fun to read. The evolution and anatomy books were fantastic though!

If this sounds like too much science for you, no fear! The final chapter is sprinkled with a humbling dose of mythology, where those of a more gullible nature can read modern fairy tales about things like the Big Bang, time travel, and spaghettification. Everything in moderation, I guess!

Although the introduction states that the book is great for introducing readers to a variety of new topics, I have to say I completely disagree. Those who are not familiar with the topics being discussed may find themselves a little bored, or wishing for more information, so I think it is those who are reading it to refresh what they have learned in the past will probably get the most out of it. While the book is readable, and I enjoyed reading it, you could also look at it as a miniature scientific encyclopedia where the 190-or-so articles get a full-page entry. ( )
5 vote Ape | May 24, 2013 |
As the title suggests, this is a compendium of six popular scientific titles from the Wooden Books series. Edited by John Martineau, the various scientific topics are presented in snapshot format - one page (the left hand page of the book) containing text touching on a specific topic with corresponding charts, diagrams,picture and images to exemplify the topic displayed on the right hand page. Efforts have been made by the various authors to present the scientific topics in layman's terms, and the visuals do help with this.

This has its pros and cons. On the pro side, the book is great for quick overviews of various topics of interest. on the cons side, if you want to delve into a topic in greater detail, you will need other resources to do so. As mentioned by Moff Betts in the introduction to Book V - the Human Body:

"So when asked to write a tiny book about the human body, I protested that the topic was too large and complex to fit into such a small space. As it turned out, the book had ideas of its own, but is necessarily dense and in places a fairly simple version of what we now."

One of my favorite quotes from the book, and a great example of the layman's explanatory approach to science is the following quote from the topic on Immunology:

"The shapes that identify cells as yours are mainly MHC proteins, and lymphocytes brandish other proteins which dock with these. If docking falters, the lymphocyte smells a rat, and sends messages that amplify far and wide to bring the white cavalry. To avoid whimsical wars being waged, several white cells agree to arouse each others' martial sides before letting full hostilities commence."

My takeaway from this book and the various 'little' books contained in it is I found parts of it to be a great refresher for stuff I had learned back in my school days, parts of it difficult to grasp - like quantum theory - as being over my head and some parts -like the great detailed run through on the periodic table - absolutely fascinating as I now finally understand the elements of the periodic table in relation to one another! Why couldn't my high school teacher explained it to me this way! ( )
1 vote lkernagh | Mar 28, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802778992, Hardcover)

From basic mathematical and physical formulas that govern much of our world to the components of matter; from the structure of the cosmos to that of the human body-the discoveries of scientists over the last millennium have been remarkable.

Sciencia gathers together Useful Mathematical and Physical Formulae, Q.E.D, Essential Elements, Evolution, The Human Body, and The Compact Cosmos, six elegant and insightful short volumes spanning the realms of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, evolution, and astronomy, offering invaluable information to today's readers. Lavishly illustrated with engravings, woodcuts, and original drawings and diagrams, Sciencia will inspire readers of all ages to take an interest in the interconnected knowledge of the modern sciences.

Beautifully produced in thirteen different colors of ink, Sciencia is an essential reference and an elegant gift.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:33 -0400)

"From the structure of the cosmos to that of the human body, the discoveries of science over the past few hundred years have been remarkable. Scienca spans the realms of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and astronomy, offering an invaluable introduction to each. Curious about quarks, quasars, and the fantastic universe around you? Ever wanted to explore a mathematical proof? Need an introduction to biochemistry? Beautifully illustrated with engravings, woodcuts, and original drawings and diagrams, Sciencia will inspire inquisitive readers of all ages to appreciate the interconnected knowledge of the modern sciences"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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