Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Asimov's New Guide to Science Rev Sub edition by Asimov, Isaac (1984) Hardcover Hardcover – January 1, 1600
Inspire a love of reading with Prime Book Box for Kids
Discover delightful children's books with Prime Book Box, a subscription that delivers new books every 1, 2, or 3 months — new customers receive 15% off your first box. Learn more.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Although the book is meticulously organized into sections and has both name and subject indexes, the best way to read it is from cover to cover. There is actually a kind of narrative structure that underpins the whole thing.
The book is divided into the physical sciences and the biological sciences, and the progression in one section mirrors that in the other. The physical sciences section goes from big to small -- from the universe as a whole to the stars, to the solar system, to the earth, and from there to progressively smaller matters: the elements, particles and energy. The biological sciences section goes from small to big -- from organic molecules to cells, to microorganisms, to the body, and then to the species, evolution and the human mind.
Ideas build one upon the other. So, for example, by the time Asimov introduces you to the periodic table in Chapter 6, you're already familiar with X-rays because he discussed them in Chapter 2, when he was talking about radio astronomy. By the time he discusses the chemical structure of organic molecules in Chapter 11, you're already an old hand when it comes to electron transfers because Asimov covered the idea thoroughly in Chapter 6.
Asimov was never shy about his own accomplishments, and he didn't hesitate to cite himself in the book, such as discussing his 1955 insight into the importance of carbon 14 in the human body and his Three Laws of Robotics in the section on artificial intelligence. Throughout, the writing is wonderfully clear and lively.
A few quibbles. First, it's a 30-year-old book, and so there are some things that scientists have changed their minds about, such as the psychological nature of XYY males. There are also a few typos and errors, and for this, the publishers who failed to fix them after 30 years surely deserve blame. For example, the Chinese-American biochemist Cho Hao Li, who synthesized human-growth hormone in 1970, is listed under the "Cs" in the name index, and not the "Ls" as he should be.
Another problem is that the paperback edition was apparently photocopied from the hardcover. This means that the periodic table, for example, which had shaded the rare earth series to set them apart, is illegible in the paperback, since the shaded sections appear as black bars. (This is a minor problem, since in today's world, any reader can find a periodic table on the Web.)
But what really strikes me is how well the book still holds up after three decades, and I'm not entirely sure that that's a good thing. I think if Asimov were alive today, it would take him fewer than 50 additional pages to cover all the changes since 1984, and this is with a book that's 802 pages without the appendix. If Asimov were to rise from the grave, I can't help but think he'd want to know: "What have you people been doing for the past 30 years?"
This is the most recent edition of a book first published some 50 years ago. This edition is updated through the discoveries of the mid 1980s. If only Asimov were still around! I'd love to read an edition updated for 2013. But you can still get an excellent understanding of how things work in every area of science.
You can also experience the joys of discovery because Asimov doesn't just say "This is how it is" but tells you the story of how we found out how things are.
Top reviews from other countries
Inevitably there are gaps and anything recent (Asimov died in 1992) is missing but this is a trivial complaint. I guarantee that anyone reading this book will learn something interesting.
Scientist are terribly susceptible to pride, rightfully so, but it is difficult for them to remain true to their profession of objectivity and humility (as was Robert Hooke, for example). Isaac Asimov will long remain one of our finest examples of the men of science in the twentieth century.