At first glance, this book appears to be just another "Advances in". . . , "Progress on". . . , or "Yearbook of". . . type of book: interesting but not really that useful for reference. However, upon further scrutiny, it is full of general information on science and technology, as well as the latest developments for 1990 and 1991. For the general reader, it presents well-written articles on a wide variety of topics in astronomy, space, chemistry, earth sciences, environment, life sciences, mathematics, physics, and technology that have been in the sci-tech news. (Medicine is not covered.) In fact, one could easily read it all the way through as nonfiction
The book is arranged the same for each broad subject area. First is a statement about the state of the subject in 1990-91. Next is a timetable or chronology of events pertinent to the subject, followed by the main article and subarticles that speak of developments in 1990 and 1991. For the reader who is not sci-tech literate, the article may contain set-off background material, where a particular development is historically described in a screened box so that the main article can be better understood. Included with the articles are tables, charts, and lists of useful data and references to further reading in newspapers and such journals as "Science"
It is this material that makes this a useful reference handbook. Some 85 tables, charts, and chronologies cover such things as astronomical record holders (the largest, the farthest, the brightest), a list of major accomplishments of satellites and space probes, a chronology of earthquakes with magnitude and deaths, a list of volcanoes, a timetable for dioxin as a pollutant, a list of major indoor air pollutants, a table of major taxons, and a list of members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The appendixes include a bibliography with difficulty level indicated, obituaries of scientists and engineers for 1990 and 1991, and units of measure. There is a detailed index
This is not a book that would be purchased in place of such excellent one-volume encyclopedias as the "McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Science and Technology". It will serve, however, as a companion to such encyclopedias, updating with the newest developments on a particular topic. This handbook is recommended for public, high school, and undergraduate libraries, especially those that have not been able to purchase new editions of more comprehensive and expensive encyclopedias.
Provides both general readers and professionals with a comprehensive review and analysis of the major events occurring in science and technology in the early 1990s. The areas covered are astronomy and space, chemistry, earth science, the environment, life science, mathematics, physics, and technology. Each section is introduced by an essay on the state of that discipline, continues with short articles on recent major developments in that field, and concludes with tables, charts, and lists of important scientific data. Very nicely done. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)