Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Scientific Revolution: An Encyclopedia

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Scientific Revolution: An Encyclopedia

Article excerpt

By William E. Burns. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio, 2001. 387p. alkaline $85 (ISBN 0-87456-875-8).

Scholarship on the early underpinnings of modern science, the scientific revolution, can be difficult reading for one unpracticed in philosophy or history. The Scientific Revolution is a work of history with a heavy dose of philosophy.

Containing 228 alphabetically arranged entries averaging one and one-half pages in length, The Scientific Revolution covers the time spanning Copernicus in the early sixteenth century to the impact of Newton in the early eighteenth century. Burns presents entries that deal with the "leading personalities, ideas, instruments, and institutions" (xvii) as well as the development of the modern scientific disciplines. Each entry concludes with several "See also" references as well as one to three citations to his primarily monographic source material. These materials seemed quite well chosen, and in themselves, could define a nice core collection on the topic. The work concludes with a somewhat standard chronology of the times, a collected bibliography, six excellent Web sites with brief annotations, and a thorough index to the contents. The short format and low cost imply selection by a wide range of libraries. However, the material may only be truly usable to those with some subject specialization. The entries, while concise, are sometimes dense with textual references to persons and ideas; in fact, things are frequently described in terms of ideas such as Paraclesian, epicurianism, millenarian, Galenic, etc. …

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