- Series: VAN NOSTRANDS SCIENTIFIC ENCYCLOPEDIA
- Hardcover: 4192 pages
- Publisher: Wiley-Interscience; 9 edition (June 15, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0471332305
- ISBN-13: 978-0471332305
- Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 4.6 x 11.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,700,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia 2 Volume Set 9th Edition
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From Library Journal
This, the seventh edition of a well-known reference work, now appears in a two-volume format. That in itself is probably incentive enough to encourage replacement of the unwieldy sixth edition, published in 1983. Since there is little doubt that most local libraries have a copy of a scientific encyclopedia, the only question is whether this new edition has kept pace with the knowledge explosion. It has. The greatest changes are exactly where one would expect to find them. There are whole new sections on computer-related topics, such as local area networks (LANs) and machine vision; similarly, developments in materials science, such as the section on semiconductors, are given expanded coverage. Perhaps the most satisfying revisions are those on planetary astronomy, which incorporate the new information garnered by the Voyager fly-bys of the outer planets. Thus, the article on Uranus has been expanded from two to six pages, enough to provide a solid introduction for a student. One drawback is that certain broad topics are difficult to find; in mathematics, for example, there was no apparent entry for either chaos, catastrophe theory, or dynamical systems. Additionally, there is almost nothing on history of science or biography of scientists. Thus, if one looks up Fermi, one finds the definition of a unit of length but no mention that it was named after a person. Similarly, there is an article entitled "Evolution," but nothing under Darwin. Nevertheless, this is probably the best scientific encyclopedia available.Harold D. Shane, Baruch Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the CD-ROM edition.
First published in 1938, this desktop science encyclopedia has been published in two volumes beginning with the sixth edition. It is edited by Douglas Considine and Glenn Considine. Distinguished in their respective fields of engineering and information management, they are also the editors of several other well-known technical reference books (e.g., Van Nostrand Reinhold Encyclopedia of Chemistry). Approximately 250 scientists, engineers, and educators from eight different countries contributed to this new edition.
Van Nostrand's covers the six general areas of earth and space sciences, life sciences, energy and environmental science, materials science, physics and chemistry, and mathematics and information sciences. Where appropriate, entries have an identifying tag (e.g., Bond [Chemical]). The length of entries varies from one sentence (Aeolian Tones) to 11 pages (Climate). Only the longer entries are signed by their authors and have appended reading lists. The entries appear to be current. For example, Jupiter mentions the Ulysses satellite flyby of the planet in 1992, and 13 new readings have been added to its bibliography. Telescope has been expanded from 8 to 12 pages, has several new illustrations, and its bibliography is twice as long. This entry mentions the 1993 corrections to the Hubble Space Telescope. Similarly, the coverage under Television has been expanded to include a discussion of high-definition television, with mention of developments as recent as 1994. This work does not contain any biographies. Information on symbols and mathematical conversions is found under Units and Standards.
This encyclopedia has a good history of revision. A comparison with the previous edition shows that about 200 new pages have been added to the text. There are approximately 7,300 entries, an increase of several hundred. Throughout the text are many appropriately placed black-and-white photographs, line drawings, tables, charts, and diagrams. In the past this work has been criticized for the quality of its illustrations. There are several instances in this new edition of attempts to improve the contrast and size of photographs.
The index now appears at the end of each volume so the volumes can be used independently. A sampling determined that there are approximately 12,600 index entries and more than 5,300 cross-references in the text. This dual system of cross-references and indexing is barely adequate.
The only comparable work is the McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Science & Technology [RBB N 15 94]. It has 7,700 alphabetically arranged entries, 1,700 illustrations, and an outstanding index of 30,000 citations. More than 3,000 authors contributed to the work, and all articles are signed. There is a bibliography of databases and appendixes of conversion units, symbols and abbreviations, and a classification of living organisms. In addition, there is a list of important scientists. McGraw-Hill is clearly superior in illustration quality and indexing. In contrast, Van Nostrand's has almost twice the number of pages and longer entries than McGraw-Hill. Academic, public, and high-school libraries should consider Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia for their collections. --This text refers to the CD-ROM edition.
Top customer reviews
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I ordered the 9th edition for the next generation last spring, and have read most of A-F myself. There are so many errors (at least one per page) in this edition that I wouldn't recommend anyone using this encyclopedia for anything serious. I do not count simple spelling/grammar errors, only things that change the fundamental meaning of a definition.
Readers interested in mathematics or physics should not rely on any mathematical expression. Simple operators like plus/minus can be mixed up, as well as symbols for variables. Often variables are not properly defined, or in some cases incorrectly defined. Readers interested in chemistry should ignore most 2D organic structures because valance and resonance are often ignored.
Every book has it faults, and encyclopedias with many authors are especially vulnerable. IMHO Editor Glenn D. Considine has not done enough "quality control" to ensure that Van Nostrand's Nine is better than, e.g., Wikipedia.
If there were only a few errors per many pages I would have gladly sent my errata to the Editor. One per page leads me to the conclusion: Do not buy this book.
(For Mathematics you're better off with the 31st Edition of the CRC Standard Math Tables, ISBN 1-58488-291-3)