Title: 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 Books, Inc.
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
Excerpts: Friction, Muscle Groups, Telecommunications, Hydrologic Cycle, Ingestion, Measurement of Time
Keywords: reference, science, technology, biology, chemistry, earth science, engineering, mathematics, paleontology, physics
Suggested by: TRN Staff

Review by Kimberly Patch, Technology Research News

  The 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 looked at.

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 in 10.

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 categories
- where applicable, a further reading entry that includes the author, title and publication date of between three and six books on the subject
- graphic elements, including pictures and charts
Periodic subtopic sidebars
Index (35 pages, color-coded)

Excerpts from Encyclopedia of Science and Technology:

Entry: Friction
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 century.

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.

Picture caption:
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, Entropy

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 tissue.

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.

Entry: Telecommunications
Short definition: Communication over a distance through electronic means.
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 speaker.

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; The Irwin Handbook of Telecommunications, by James H. Irwin [Green]; The Desktop Encyclopedia of Telecommunications, by Nathan J. Muller

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 Cells
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. Averett; Global 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

Entry: Ingestion
Short Definition: The process by which living organisms take in food.
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 them up.

Section references: Fish, Gills, Predation, Population Ecology, Digestive Systems, Digestion Regulation

Entry: Time, Measurement of
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 Wave

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 S. Thorne

Other books by the author:

The Sciences: An Integrated Approach, 4th edition, Trefil and Robert M. Hazen
Good Seeing: A Century of Science at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Trefil with Margaret Hazen
Guide to the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum
, Paul Knappenberger and Trefil
Other Worlds: The Solar System and Beyond
Are We Unique?: A Scientist Explores the Complexity of the Human Brain
The Edge of the Unknown: 101 Things You Don't Know about Science and No One Else Does Either
The Physical Sciences: an Integrated Approach
, Robert M. Hazen and Trefil
A Scientist in the City
The Facts of Life: Science and the Abortion Controversy
, Harold J. Morowitz and Trefil
1001 Things Everyone Should Know about Science
Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy
by Robert M. Hazen and Trefil
Reading the Mind of God
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, E. D. Hirsch, J. Kett, and Trefil
The Dark Side of the Universe
Meditations at Sunset
Meditations at 10,000 Feet
Space, Time, Infinity
The Scientist at the Seashore
The Moment of Creation
The Unexpected Vista: A Physicist's View of Nature
Living in Space
Are We Alone?
From Atoms to Quarks
Physics as a Liberal Art
Introduction to the Physics of Fluids and Solids

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