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Random House Webster's Dictionary of Scientists

by Helicon Publishing Ltd.

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This book has two major parts to it: the biographies, which are pretty much standard fare; and a preface liv pages long that tries to cover the content and history of all of science. The latter portion of the book is pretty much a failure and adds little to the collected biographies. It just is not possible to cover all that ground in so few pages, and the editors' wind up with a rather unpalatable recital.
The biographies themselves, usually consisting of a few paragraphs, do form a useful compendium, and many of them are well written and interesting. However, some errors appear, as they almost inevitably must, in any work of this kind. One whopper is their report that Carnot actually discovered the formula for the efficiency of an ideal heat engine. While he knew that some formula involving temperature must exist, he did not know about absolute temperatures, and did not discover the formula.

The most offensive thing to me was the comparative space given to Freud and Jung (many paragraphs, plus portraits), neither of whom were scientists, and that given to William Shockley (two short paragraphs, no portrait), whose invention of the transistor changed our world so dramatically. One sentence in Shockley's bio is about the transistor, and two slanderous ones on his contributions in genetics. That's it.

Really, now. Jung's psychological system included astrology, spiritualism, and various types of ESP. His totally bogus notion of synchronicity is actually anti-scientific. Why is he here, while Madam Blavatsky is not?

Farnesworth, who invented TV, is entirely omitted from the compilation, which is absolutely disgraceful. And to forget Jack Kilby, inventor of the integrated circuit, is careless. The inclusion of Spinoza and Wittgenstein who were philosophers, and definitely not scientists, can only be described as an error. And including Hahnemann, the quack that invented homeopathy, is ludicrous. ( )
1 vote DonSiano | Oct 20, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375700579, Paperback)

From the ancient Greeks to the atom-splitters -- learn of the lives and motivations of the world's greatest scientific thinkers

Open up Random House Webster's Dictionary of Scientists and find out what nuclear physicist Oppenheimer really felt about the atomic bomb; learn what drove Alan Turning, who helped crack the Nazi Enigma code, to suicide . . . and much more!

In clear, jargon-free language, this amazing collection of 1,800 biographies of scientific genius deals with many scientists from the 20th century and profiles more women of science than any other book.

The book features:
photos
illustrations
quotations
chronoliogical histories of every branch of science
abundant appendices that supplement the biographies to help answer any questions

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:54 -0400)

In clear, jargon-free language, the Random House Webster's Dictionary of Scientists offers 1,800 biographies of scientific genius: from Ptolemy to Feynman, Hippocrates to Curie, Galileo to Oppenheimer. Over half of these up-to-the-minute biographies deal with scientists of the 20th century, with more profiles of women in science than any other book. With over 400 photos, illustrations, and quotations, you are able to obtain a richer view of the person and the life behind the scientific mind. The fields of astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering and technology, geology, mathematics, and physics are chronologically recorded and explained from the origins of scientific practice through their contemporary advancement.… (more)

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