How the World Works: A Guide to Science's Greatest Discoveries

Boyce Rensberger, Author William Morrow & Company $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-05398-7
Washington Post science writer Rensberger has fashioned a thoroughly useful, up-to-date guide for lay readers about science and its workings. In the author's view, science, largely since Copernicus, has made 24 ""major advances,'' the great discoveries of the subtitle. His strikingly lucid short summaries of this historic double dozen range through Galileo and Newton, Einstein's relativity, modern quantum mechanics, DNA and the Double Helix. The book's substance, however, lies in the alphabetically ordered ``entries'' on aspects of science's key triumphsoverthrowing the Ptolemaic earth-centered view of the solar system, discovering gravity and the laws of thermodynamics, and so on, up to post-Einsteinian attempts to unify the four known fundamental forces of physics. Rensberger's arrangement may seem arbitrary, but he offers a rich, lucid sourcebook, and the biographical sketches he interpolates, from Archimedes and Einstein to Volta, Watson and Wegener, are often vividly drawn. Illustrations. (March 24)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1986
Release date: 02/01/1986
Paperback - 378 pages - 978-0-688-07293-3
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