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This milestone extensive work combines the essentials of history - biography, chronology, political and economic background - with the observations, theories, principles, laws and equations that constitute the specifics of science.
The 5000-page Encyclopedia arises from the conviction that the optimal perspective on science is through the lens of history, setting aside traditional divisions of discipline and specialty, and rising above geopolitical boundaries. Reaching from 4,200 BCE to the 21st century CE, the Encyclopedia relates (as the author himself puts it) "not only who did it and when it was done but also precisely what was done."
The author, Ari Ben-Menahem, surveys 100 generations of great thinkers, offering 2070 detailed biographies of scientists, engineers, explorers and inventors, who left their mark on the history of science and technology. The span of coverage is all-encompassing: mathematics, philosophy, logic, physical and environmental sciences (including physics, chemistry, astronomy, earth and space sciences and cosmology), life sciences (biology, medicine, physiology, botany, zoology and biochemistry), associated engineering disciplines, and the social sciences (among them economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, linguistics and more).
The five-volume Encyclopedia also includes 380 articles summarizing the time-line of ideas in the leading fields of science, technology, mathematics and philosophy, plus useful tables, figures and photos, and 20 `Science Progress Reports' detailing scientific setbacks. Interspersed throughout are quotations, gathered from the wit and wisdom of sages, savants and scholars throughout the ages from antiquity to modern times.
From the reviews: "This encyclopedia, which author Ben-Menahem ! calls his treatise, is the product of 27 years of hard work. ! The content covers all theoretical and experimental milestones in scientific and technological fields and extends to social issues. ! This encyclopedia is truly one of a kind within the subject of the history of science and will be a good addition to collections needing material on natural and mathematical sciences. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers." (N. N. Xiao, Choice, Vol. 47 (7), March, 2010) "This is probably the most comprehensive encyclopedia of natural and mathematical sciences one has ever seen. ! Numerous tables of the lifespan of researcher or tables to describe symbols are included as well as many appendices including additional material. Each chapter is accompanied by a bibliography, a name index, and a subject index. ! definitely sets high standards not only from the point of view of its content but also from its appearance. ! printed on high quality paper and the text is superbly readable." (Thomas Sonar, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1175, 2010) "Provide a 'comprehensive treatise that blends the essential historical data (chronology, biographies, major background political and economical events, etc.) together with science proper (principles, laws, experiments, observations, theories, equations, etc.)' ! . Ben-Menahem's approach is purely chronological; history is presented as just one damn thing after another. ! a useful and historically sensitive approach ! . appeal to non-academics ! ." (Dean Rickles, Metascience, Vol. 20, 2011)