“This book consists of a series of 140 awards honoring major achievements in the natural sciences, mathematics, or technology across the period A.D. 1600-2000. For the century 1876-1976, there is one award per year; in other periods there is one award per decade or half-decade. Each award is given to the one person who made the greatest contribution in that year (or decade, etc.). Each article describes the advance made and gives a brief biography of the award winner.
The chronological format gives readers a concise history of modern science, while the details humanize the topics, supplying many interesting anecdotes and striking quotations. The whole project is very well thought out and skillfully executed. Hart and Parkinson give clear and straightforward explanations for difficult points of theory.
Both authors have backgrounds as researchers in the physical sciences, but their book does not ignore advances in biology and medicine. Technology is covered, as well as pure science: Many of the awards go to inventors who have used science to create the practical devices that have revolutionized the modern world. The book’s selections range from the introduction of anesthesia to the development of the internet.
The book is designed for intelligent laymen with very little knowledge of mathematics, but working scientists will also enjoy it. It will find a place, I am sure, in the reference section of libraries, where it would be a worthy successor to Isaac Asimov’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, a fine book which unfortunately is now becoming dated.”
Former Contributing Editor and columnist for National Review; Author of We Are Doomed, Prime Obsession, Unknown Quantity, and the novel Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream