Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sciencia

Sciencia: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Astronomy For All, ed. John Martineau

Last year I reviewed Quadrivium, a collection of small books from Wooden Books about the four branches of knowledge belonging to the quadrivium.  This book is its twin: 6 books about the main branches of science.  The format is just the same, consisting of lovely little two-page spreads of illustrated text that take the reader through a condensed overview of the subject.  Again, the ink color changes from brown to green to purple, and it's nicely arranged so that the biology pages are greenish and the astronomy pages are navy and violet.  It's so pretty that to look at it is to desire it.

This makes a great bedside book.  I've had it there for months now and it's easy to pick it up and read a few pages whenever I feel like it, whereas it gets overwhelming to try to sit down and read it right through.  There is too much information for that.

The material is often so condensed that it's hard to understand if you don't already know a good bit about the subject.  I got my physics-loving husband to explain some, and some was just over my head.  Other sections I found to be excellent summaries that really helped me understand more than I had before--I especially enjoyed the bit on quarks and other sub-atomic particles, and the bit on the periodic table of elements.  (Note however that I already like the periodic table!)

The illustrations are finely done, with beautiful little diagrams, whimsical drawings, and pretty pictures.

Wooden Books, based in the UK (in Glastonbury, in fact) does seem to lean a little to the New Agey side of things.  There is definitely some of that in here, but it's mostly done nicely enough that it's pretty tolerable. 

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