World Book's Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists: Complete 8 Volume Set

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9780716676003: World Book's Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists: Complete 8 Volume Set

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Intended for students in grades six and up, World Book's new biography set on scientists covers more than 1,300 individuals from ancient times to the present. The alphabetically arranged entries vary in length from around one-half to two double-columned pages. Each begins with a brief summary of basic facts: date and place of birth and, where relevant, death; nationality; and occupation. The readable essays clearly state the scientist's importance in the first sentence or two and provide personal as well as professional information. Many entries include portraits, and longer entries, such as those for Elizabeth Blackwell, Albert Einstein, and Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, have a short chronology. Cross-references link entries for scientists whose work is related. There are no entry-specific lists of further reading. Pronunciation guides for some of the scientists' names are a helpful feature.

Interspersed among the biographies are a number of two-page "Special Reports" that provide a more thematic approach. For example, following the entry for Otis Barton, who designed the bathysphere for undersea exploration, there is a report on "Exploring the Ocean Floor." A detailed cumulative index is repeated in each volume, and indexes by occupation, nationality and ethnicity, and century appear in volume 8. Volume 8 also has a glossary, a "List of Other Reference Sources," and list of Nobel Prize winners.

There are several other science biography reference sources for a similar age group. The World Book set has some advantage in currency over The Grolier Library of Science Biographies (1996), which gives brief summaries of 2,000 professional careers. Marshall Cavendish's Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists (1998) covers just 500 people but generally provides more information, including bibliographies that list major works by as well as about each scientist. UXL's Scientists: Their Lives and Work (1997-2002) is now up to seven volumes treating around 280 scientists in profiles of three to seven pages. Despite the fact that it deals with so many scientists, World Book's coverage in some areas, such as African American scientists, seems skimpy--there are just 14. School and public libraries could purchase this set to provide breadth, knowing they may need to supplement it with other resources. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From School Library Journal:

Grade 6 Up-This comprehensive resource includes more than 1300 alphabetically arranged entries covering a wide range of scientists, from Ernst Abbe to Vladimir Kosma Zworykin. Fields include astronomy, biology, botany, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, medicine, and physics. Each entry begins with a fact box with important dates, nationality, and occupation for each person. Longer entries also include a short chronology highlighting accomplishments. The clear articles range from a half page to two pages in length and provide far more information than those found in the World Book Encyclopedia. In addition to the biographical entries, the set includes 27 articles that feature the work of the scientist in the preceding entry. Cross-references and special features are indicated by bold type. The appealing layout incorporates more than 700 black-and-white and full-color photographs and illustrations. Each volume concludes with a cumulative index; the final volume includes a glossary; a list of Nobel Prize winners; and indexes by occupation, nationality and ethnicity, and century. This set is more inclusive than Marie Ellavich's Scientists (UXL, 1996), Brigham Narins's Notable Scientists from 1900 to the Present (Gale, 2001), and Richard Olson's Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists (Marshall Cavendish, 1997). However, each entry in the latter publication includes a helpful list for further reading. World Book's Biographical Encyclopedia will be a useful addition to any reference collection.
Maren Ostergard, Bellevue Regional Library, WA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Published by World Book Inc (2002)
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