ED -- Biology

Lexikon der Biologie: in fünfzehn Bänden [Encyclopedia of Biology: In Fifteen Volumes]. Ed. Doris Freudig. Heidelberg: Spektrum, Akademischer Verlag. 25 cm. ISBN 3-8274-0320-0 (complete edition, book only): DM 2,465.00 (prepayment price); ISBN 3-8274-0341-3 (complete edition, book and CD-ROM): DM 3,700.00 (prepayment price) [99-1/4-474]

Vol. 1. A bis Arjona [A to Arjona]. 1999. xi, 452 p. ill. ISBN 3-8274-0326-X: DM 298.00, DM 248.00 (subscription)

When the Lexikon der Biologie appeared in 1983-1987, it was certainly the most exhaustive reference work for biology of its time, and not only in the German language. The work was completed in 1992 with the additional volume Biologie im Überblick [Survey of Biology]. Two supplemental volumes appeared in 1994-1995, but even these additions could not keep pace with the rapid advances in the field. It is most welcome, then, that this work is being significantly updated and expanded, and made available as a CD-ROM as well. Since the revision will only be finished in 2003, one wonders how the newest developments will be included. Many of the work's so-called "encyclopedic entries" are thoroughly reworked in the first volume, but this has resulted in the regrettable elimination of many articles, or their reduction to "summary entries." By the same token, some summary entries from the supplemental volumes have been taken up here and expanded. The keywords themselves are clear and competently defined, and numerous cross-references make thematic study easier. The number and content of the short biographies of the first edition have been expanded and are now accompanied by a photograph. The appearance of this first volume allows one to conclude that the new edition represents the beginning of another model encyclopedia, which belongs in every library. The joy at its appearance is tempered, however, by the drawn-out publication schedule and the exorbitant pricing structure. [jr/sbd]
  Geschichte der Biologie: Theorien, Methoden, Institutionen, Kurzbiographien [History of Biology: Theories, Methods, Institutions, Biographies]. Ed. Ilse Jahn. 3d new and expanded ed. Jena; Stuttgart [et al.]: G. Fischer, 1998. 1,088 p. ill. 27 cm. ISBN 3-437-35010-2: DM 286.00 [99-1/4-475] This third edition has little in common with its predecessors except the title. Each chapter has been thoroughly rewritten thanks to the efforts of twenty-one new subject specialists. Happily, the ideological ballast and terminology of the East German era and the accompanying orientation to the scientific philosophy of the Soviet Union, a characteristic of the first two editions, have disappeared. Parts I-III retain approximately their earlier scope and coverage, while parts IV and V, twentieth-century biology and biographical entries respectively, have almost doubled in size. Part IV is now arranged according to the history of ideas, rather than strictly chronologically. The forty-page section there on molecular and microbiology is insufficient to describe the stormy development of this dynamic and recent branch of biology. At three pages, the entry for gene technology is simply inadequate. And one finds nothing about the so-called "National Socialist biology" with its controversial fields of euthanasia and "racial hygiene," two areas whose inclusion is essential in a history of biology.

The short biographical entries have been expanded by 650 new additions. Concerns of length have led to the use of numerous abbreviations in the text and in personal names (sometimes at the expense of clarity), as well as the elimination of biographical details other than birth and death dates. This history of biology is an important work, which sometimes suffers from its attempt at brevity. [jr/sbd]

Wörterbuch der Botanik: Morphologie, Anatomie, Taxonomie, Evolution; die Termini in ihrem historischen Zusammenhang; ... mit einem englisch-deutschen und einem französisch-deutschen Register [Dictionary of Botany: Morphology, Anatomy, Taxonomy, Evolution; The Terms and their Historical Relationships; ...with an English-German and French-German index]. Gerhard Wagenitz. Jena [et al.]: G. Fischer, 1996. 531 p. ill. 19 cm. ISBN 3-437-35180-X: DM 36.80 [99-1/4-476] Gerhard Wagenitz has given us a novel dictionary of botany that emphasizes the history of the terminology from important subdisciplines of the field. The foreword fully describes which areas of the field are included and which are not. In the introductory matter the author describes five eras of botany, beginning with the herbals of the sixteenth century and continuing to the present era. At the end of this section he introduces the important source works of the field from different time periods, such as dictionaries and handbooks. The succeeding lexicographical section encompasses approximately 4,000 keywords, with (perhaps too) few illustrations. Each entry is clearly and understandably presented. A true asset is the almost nineteen-page bibliography of monograph and journal articles, with detailed, complete bibliographical references. This dictionary is an excellent reference work, and is enthusiastically recommended. [jr/sbd]

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