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Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists, Third Edition

Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists, Third Edition

Author: John Daintith

Publisher: CRC Press


Publish Date: August 18, 2008

ISBN-10: 1420072714

Pages: 896

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

This reference book presents biographical entries on important scientists – from the earliest times to the present day. It is an updated version of A Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists, which was published by the Institute of Physics in 1993. This in turn was based o n earlier editions.

In this new edition, we have updated all the entries and added over 200 new biographies.We have also included a simple pronunciation guide in entries where this is appropriate. The respelling system used is shown on page vi. Another added feature of this edition is the inclusion of a selection of quotations by or about certain people. There are also cross references to other entries in the book – these are indicated by SMALL CAPITALS. In the appendix to the book there is a chronology of key events in science, a list of useful web sites, and a subject index. In compiling such a book there are several difficult decisions to make on the selection of material. The most general one is that of the scope of the book – what areas of knowledge it should cover. This work concentrates on what might be called the ‘traditional’ pure sciences – physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and the earth sciences. It also covers medicine and mathematics, and includes a selection of people who have made important contributions to engineering and technology. A few of the entries cover workers in such fields as anthropology and psychology, and a small number of philosophers have also been allowed in.

Our intention has been to produce a book as much about science itself as about scientists, and this has governed our approach to selecting information: the entries contain basic biographical data – place and date of birth, posts held, etc. – but do not give exhaustive personal details about the subject’s family, prizes, honorary degrees, etc. Most of the space has been given to their main scientific achievements and the nature and importance of these achievements. This has not always been easy; in particular, it has not always been possible to explain in relatively simple terms work in the higher reaches of abstract mathematics or modern theoretical physics. Perhaps the most difficult problem was compiling the entry list.We have attempted to include people who have produced major advances in theory or have made influential or well-known discoveries. A particular difficulty has been the
selection of contemporary scientists, in view of the fact that of all scientists who have ever lived, the vast majority are still alive. In this we have been guided by lists of prizes and awards made by scientific societies. It should also be said that the compilers and editors have used their own judgment in choosing what is important or useful. In some cases entries have been added simply because we found them interesting.We hope that the reader will find all the entries useful and share our interest in them. JD 2008

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