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Encyclopedia of Scientific Principles, Laws, and Theories

The purpose of this volume is to present a historical perspective on the important principles, laws, theories, hypotheses, and concepts that reflect the progression of scientific descriptions and explanations of nature. An excellent 11-page introduction provides background reading on what science is and is not as well as physical laws, principles, constants, theories, hypotheses, and causality. The articles range in length from a single paragraph to several pages. A concise paraphrased statement, italicized at the beginning of each entry, renders the original principles, laws, or theories more comprehensible to the student or layperson. The several hundred articles are alphabetically arranged, in most cases by the last name of the person credited with formulating the law, theory, or concept. Sample entries include Archimedes’ theories, Dawkins’ theory of evolution, and Elton’s theory of animal ecology.
Sidebars give interesting background on selected topics. Ample cross-references link one topic to another. Appendixes include a 19-page glossary; an alphabetical listing of entries by scientific discipline; a list of Nobel laureates in chemistry, physics, physiology, and medicine (1901–2007); and an 8-page bibliography of print and Internet sites for further reading. A 33-page index provides subject access to the contents. A few black-and-white illustrations augment the text. Although the facts presented in the encyclopedia are available elsewhere, the author has done an excellent job of selecting and synthesizing the information for a nonspecialist audience. Recommended for public and undergraduate college libraries.


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