Lucan's famous dictum that those standing on the shoulders of giants see more than the giants themselves applies to no human endeavor more thoroughly than to the "pure" sciences: astronomy, chemistry, biology, geology, mathematics, physics, and the many subdisciplines they have spawned. The three volumes of "Science and Scientists" documents more than 200 of the most important breakthroughs or milestones in the history of science, cross-referenced to link those that built on others, from ancient times to the present day. These essays are accompanied by biographical sidebars on nearly as many giants behind the discoveries. The disciplines covered here are broad, including Anthropology, Archaeology, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Evolution, Genetics, Mathematics, Medicine, Meteorology, Paleontology, Physics, Psychology, and Space Science. Arranged alphabetically, these essays address the most important breakthroughs in these fields, ranging from Abstract Algebra to Quantum Mechanics, from the Big Bang to X-Ray Astronomy, from Antisepsis to Viruses.
Accompanying nearly every essay is a capsule biography of one of the key scientists responsible for the breakthrough, from Aristotle to Zwicky. It is important to note that technological advances and inventions - such as the telephone, the light bulb, and the airplane - are not addressed here but are covered in the companion Magill's "Choice Set Inventions and Inventors" (2 vols., 2002). However, a few "crossover" achievements (such as the Personal Computer, the Internet, or Vaccination) - are included in these pages as having had as great an impact on the "pure" sciences as on applications to everyday life. Achievements of the Space Age currently stand somewhere between; the core achievements in space, with an emphasis on space science, are therefore included here. Each essay opens with a brief definition of the topic and a summary of its significance, followed by a list of the central figures involved. The text of each essay follows, broken by informative subheads. Cross-references to other essays in these volumes follow, and each essay ends with a listing of core resources for "Further Reading." All essays were written by scholars of history or the sciences.show more