Today's fast-moving world of science will have far-reaching effects on all of our lives. Trends in Science is a series of of essential readings for anyone who wants to know more about how his or her future will be affected; as well, the series provides accessible and stimulating material for high school and college students, for researchers and librarians.
All titles in the series provide: an introductory overview of the field in the last 100 years, reviewing the past but also predicting the new developments of the future; a detailed chronology of the most important milestones; an index of key terms and concepts; biographies of the most important scientists in each field and their role in shaping their particular branch of science; a listing of important Websites, a directory of organizations, and suggestions for further reading.
Each of these desk references to 20th-century science is arranged identically: a narrative overview of the field is followed by a chronology and some biographical sketches, each several paragraphs long. Next follows a selective directory of scientific societies and institutes (with descriptions and addresses), a short annotated bibliography, a rather haphazard collection of web sites, and a 100-plus-page glossary defining each term in a paragraph or two. The appendixes for each volume vary according to the field: all list the Nobel laureates, but the chemistry volume adds a chart of the elements, while the medicine and health volume includes tables of medical acronyms, lists of prefixes and suffixes, and charts of vitamins, minerals, plant-derived drugs, and common causes of death. The indexes are, unfortunately, spotty (e.g., "Nobel" in the chemistry index does not point to the list of laureates). Similar reference works include the handbooks for physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science in the "Facts On File Science Library," which also provide a chronology, biographies, glossary, and appendixes. However, as these handbooks are not limited to the 20th century, the entries tend to be shorter than those in the "Trends in Science" series. Another valid comparison is to popular one-volume desk references, such as the New York Public Library Science Desk Reference (LJ 1/96) or the Scientific American Science Desk Reference (LJ 2/15/00). Many of the features of the "Trends" series are also available in these compendium desk references, though in attenuated form; still, their greater subject coverage may make them a better choice for most reference collections. The "Trends" series is, however, a viable supplement to basic science collections at school and public libraries. Wade M. Lee, Univ. of Toledo, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.