Encyclopedia of Science and Technology
Editors: general, James Trefil; consulting, Harold Morowitz
and Paul Ceruzzi
Publication Date: 2001
Publisher: Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis
Details: 554 pages; oversize; around 1,000 color-coded entries
that include short definition, article, images, three types of cross-references,
further reading lists; color-coded index
Keywords: reference, science, technology, biology, chemistry,
earth science, engineering, mathematics, paleontology, physics
Suggested by: TRN Staff
Review by Kimberly Patch, Technology Research News
Encyclopedia of Science and Technology is a well-written
and entertaining collection of articles on all the science basics,
with an appropriate emphasis on today's technology. In addition
to articles on everything from the Ice Age to noninfectious diseases
to Einstein's Equivalents Principle to parallel computing, the encyclopedia
contains short sidebars on subtopics like diabetes (under the pancreas
entry), liquid crystals (under the liquids entry), the myth of spontaneous
generation (under the germ theory entry), and commercializing FM,
(under the frequency modulation entry).
The writing is clean, concise and interesting. Under the
page-long fungus section, for instance, you'll find out why the
members of kingdom fungi are more like animals than plants, the
details of saprophytic versus parasitic fungi, the two types of
reproduction fungi undergo, its lifestyle, the different types of
species (more than 50,000), the many substances fungi can attack,
the havoc they can wreak in terms of economics and human disease,
their usefulness in food and cooking, how incredibly widespread
they are, and how old they can get to be.
This reference has a well-thought out interface that makes
it easy to find what you want and to get back to what you previously
Entries are arranged in easy-to-read columns, contain a
generous sprinkling of subtitles, and are color-coded. Blue entries
fall into the categories of mathematics and physical sciences, green
entries life sciences and medicine, and red entries technology,
making the entries acid rain and
computer-aided design red, diffraction
and fermat's last theorem blue,
and food science
and tides green.
Entries that lend themselves to a dictionary-like definition
began with a clean, concise one or two sentence description in a
blue box at the top of the article. The subtopic sidebars sprinkled
throughout the book contain category tags: Connections, Controversies,
The Cutting Edge, Observations, and Tools.
And entries contain cross-references and further reading
sections. One type of cross-reference suggests one article to be
read before and one article to be read after an entry; these are
arranged above and below the entry title. A second type of cross-reference
puts one or a few references at the end of a section of an article.
And a list of cross-references that often tops a dozen items appears
in a blue box at the bottom of an entry; references are arranged
under descriptive categories like "background material", "more details",
"advanced subjects", and "further developments in the field."
Many entries have further reading sections that list a handful
of related books, making the encyclopedia an extensive reference
of science books.
Most entries also include one or more pictures or charts;
it's not unusual for an entry to have three or four pictures. These
are well-chosen -- visually interesting, relevant, and well-captioned.
This is both an excellent reference and an arresting book
to browse through. Read three pages of Encyclopedia of Science and
Technology and you'll get more information than most books impart
Encyclopedia of Science and Technology contains
the following sections:
How to use this book
Introduction Entries from A to Z that include the following elements
- a color-coded title
- where applicable, a one-sentence definition of the entry
- an encyclopedic article
- a cross-reference that suggests articles to read before and after
the current article
- a cross-reference of entries arranged under three or more descriptive
- where applicable, a further reading entry that includes the author,
title and publication date of between three and six books on the
- graphic elements, including pictures and charts
Periodic subtopic sidebars
Index (35 pages, color-coded)
Excerpts from Encyclopedia of Science and Technology:
One-sentence definition: The resistance to motion that occurs between
two touching surfaces when one slides over the other.
Suggested entry to read before Friction: Force
Suggested entry to read after Friction: Lubrication
Excerpts from article:
When force is applied to move a surface, it is opposed at
first by static friction, which prevents movement until enough force
is applied... The work done in overcoming friction is converted
to heat. The exact mechanism of friction is not known, but it is
believed to be due to electrical forces. The classic laws of friction
were formulated by the French scientist Coulomb in the late 18th
Rolling friction is considerably less than sliding friction,
and so ball bearings and roller bearings are used in machinery.
Friction is also reduced by lubrication, which substitutes contact
separated by a lubricating film for surface-to-surface contact.
Computers are now being used to model the effects of friction,
as in the computer simulation shown above, which depicts a simulation
of a Mars vehicle encountering the red planet's atmosphere.
Section cross-references: Solid-State Physics, Heat,
Entry: Muscle Systems
Suggested entry to read before muscle systems: Muscle
Suggested entry to read after muscle systems: Locomotion
Excerpts from article:
In many invertebrates, muscle fibers in the body wall are arranged
in two layers: one longitudinal, one circular. When the longitudinal
muscles contract, the animal's body shortens. When the circular
muscles relax, its body lengthens. If the longitudinal muscles contract
more on one side than the other, the body bends toward the contraction.
The skeletal muscle system in vertebrates opens the eyes,
moves the legs, flaps the wings, raises the arms, and wags the tail.
Working with connective tissue and bone, it makes possible virtually
every externally oriented activity, from walking to mating to breathing.
Skeletal muscles in vertebrates are enmeshed in a web of connective
Muscles can only pull and cannot push. To provide range
of motion, muscles that bend a joint, as the biceps bend the elbow,
are paired with muscles that straighten it, as the triceps do for
the elbow. Opposing muscles are called antagonists. Muscles that
supplement each other are called synergists. Most functional movements,
such as walking or picking up an object, require the coordination
of many muscle groups, and most involve the simultaneous contracting
of antagonistic muscles.
Short definition: Communication over a distance through electronic
Suggested entry to read before Telecommunications: Radio and Television
Suggested entry to read after Telecommunications: Internet
Excerpt from article:
Telephone communication was invented by Alexander Graham
Bell in 1876 and has remained essentially unchanged since. An electromechanical
microphone transforms sound vibrations into a modulated electrical
signal, which is sent along a branched circuit that has been switched
to access a single desired receiver; when it reaches that receiver
the signal is transformed back into sound waves by an electromechanical
Recent decades have seen two significant changes in telecommunications.
Telephones have been made much more efficient by the introduction
of fiber optics, which can carry as much as one gigabit of information
per second. These cables carry telephonic communications that have
been digitized, so that many calls can travel over a single cable.
Each analog signal is sampled 8,000 times per second, then converted
to an eight-bit binary number; the resulting 64,000 bits per second
are compressed and sent in packet form...
Further cross-references: Electric Circuit, Electromagnetic
Waves, Control Systems, Radio and Television Broadcasting, Local
Area Network, Neural Network
Further reading: The
Essential Guide to Telecommunications, by Annabel Z. Dodd;
Irwin Handbook of Telecommunications, by James H. Irwin
Desktop Encyclopedia of Telecommunications, by Nathan J.
Entry: Hydrologic Cycle
Short definition: The process by which the waters of Earth circulate
between the land, the oceans, and the atmosphere.
Suggested entry to read before hydrologic cycle: Water in Living
Suggested entry to read after hydrologic cycle: Eutrophication
The hydrologic cycle can, in some cases, be short and direct
-- for example, when water evaporates from the ocean and falls as
rain in the next few hours. It can also be long and complex, as
when rain falls on land and passes through several phases.
In the United States, from 10 percent to 50 percent of rainfall
runs off at once, another 10 percent to 30 percent evaporates, and
40 percent to 60 percent is absorbed by the soil.
Further references: Acid Rain, Ecology, Soil Chemistry,
Eutrophication, Homeostasis, Water in Living Cells, Desertification,
Gaia Hypothesis, Nitrogen and Phosphorus Cycles
Further reading: Chemical
Quality of Water and the Hydrologic Cycle, by Robert C.
Environment: Water, Air and Geochemical Cycles, by Elizabeth
Kay Berner; Global
Energy and Water Cycles, by K. A. Browning; The
Water Cycle, by David Smith
Short Definition: The process by which living organisms take in
Suggested entry to read before Ingestion: Dentistry
Suggested entry to read after Ingestion: Digestion
Excerpt from article:
The feeding behavior of animals is usually closely related
to their means of locomotion, defense, and sometimes reproduction.
A medium or large land carnivore is usually fast enough to chase
down its prey, which it tears into chunks and swallows, while a
sedentary creature like the clam merely opens its shell and lets
minute particles of food wash in.
Spiders and other arachnids are fluid feeders that liquefy
the tissue of their prey with digestive secretions before sucking
Section references: Fish, Gills, Predation, Population Ecology,
Digestive Systems, Digestion Regulation
Entry: Time, Measurement
Suggested entry to read before Measurement of Time: Time
Suggested entry to read after measurement of Time: Navigation
Excerpt from article:
Time can be measured by the recurrence of any periodic event, such
as the daily rotation of the Earth, the swing of a pendulum, or
the vibrations of atoms in a crystal.
The speed of the rotation of the Earth is subject to irregular
and unpredictable changes, probably because of activity within the
depths of the Earth. In recent years, observations by astronomers
have become precise enough to show that these changes cause variations
among the in mean solar and sidereal time. Thus, these time systems
are not precise enough for the most delicate and refined astronomical
observations. One wing in
Further references: Evolution, Geological Time Scale, Space-time,
Time, Wave, Navigation, Symmetry in Nature, Crystal, Electromagnetic
Further reading: The
Pulse of Time: Galileo Galilei, The Determination of Longitude,
and the Pendulum Clock, by Silvio A. Bedini; The
Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene; Black
Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy, by Kip
Other books by the author:
Sciences: An Integrated Approach, 4th edition,
Trefil and Robert M. Hazen
Seeing: A Century of Science at the Carnegie Institution of Washington,
Trefil with Margaret Hazen
to the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Paul Knappenberger
Worlds: The Solar System and Beyond
We Unique?: A Scientist Explores the Complexity of the Human Brain
Edge of the Unknown: 101 Things You Don't Know about Science and
No One Else Does Either
Physical Sciences: an Integrated Approach, Robert M. Hazen
Scientist in the City
Facts of Life: Science and the Abortion Controversy, Harold
J. Morowitz and Trefil
Things Everyone Should Know about Science
Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy by Robert M. Hazen
the Mind of God
New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, E. D. Hirsch, J. Kett,
Dark Side of the Universe
at 10,000 Feet
Scientist at the Seashore
Moment of Creation
Unexpected Vista: A Physicist's View of Nature
Atoms to Quarks
as a Liberal Art
to the Physics of Fluids and Solids
for other books by author, title or keywords:
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