As the twentieth century began, there were no airplanes, no radio stations, no mass-produced cars--even the zipper had yet to be invented. Within a lifetime, scientists had unlocked some of nature's deepest secrets, leading to home computers, genetic engineering, landings on the moon, nuclear weapons, and Velcro. For better or for worse, no other period in history has been so changed by the advance of science.
With over 300 informatively captioned photographs and 50 pieces of full-color artwork and maps, Science provides an intelligent, enjoyable, and comprehensive look at the history of scientific discovery in the twentieth century. In a lively narrative, supplemented by maps, chronological tables, datafiles, and special features, a team of distinguished contributors examine the history of science, technology, the scientific community, and the role of government, the military, and industry in research and development. Science unfolds the breathtaking advance of knowledge and techniques--showing how Einstein's "thought experiments" led to a whole new concept of the universe (and to atomic bombs), and tracing the evolution of television from an odd-looking apparatus that relied on a spinning disk with a spiral of holes to the fiber optic technology that allows surgeons to look inside tiny blood vessels. It also covers the epic events of recent history that sparked sudden advances, such as World War II (which gave birth to radar, jets, advanced rockets, and atomic power) and the Space Race (leading to new knowledge of the solar system, weather and communication satellites, and Teflon). The text offers up-to-the-minute coverage of topics like the space shuttle program and the fight against AIDS. Special feature sections address such discoveries as the birth control pill, plate tectonics, and organ transplants, and capsule biographies discuss the lives of pivotal figures in twentieth century science. And throughout, the discussion delves into the social context of science, looking at its funding, priorities, and how it has been used.
Lavishly illustrated, Science offers a useful and entertaining survey of the spectacular discoveries of the last century, relating the advances in science to the wider current of politics and culture. Written to be thoroughly accessible to the general reader, it is both an excellent reference and an ideal tour of twentieth century science and technology.show more