2006

E — Natural Sciences and Technology


Biographisch-literarisches Handwörterbuch der exakten Naturwissenschaften [Biographical-Literary Dictionary of the Exact Sciences]. J. C. Poggendorff. Ed. Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-527-40141-3; ISBN 3-527-40141-5 (complete set); Berlin: Akademie-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-05-500621-0; ISBN: 3-05-500621-6 (complete set) [06-2-381]

Vol. 8. 1995-2004.

Pt. 1. A-DA. 1999. 799 p.

Pt. 2. De-Jef. 2002. 798 p.

Pt. 3. Jeff-Z. 2004. 920 p.

Known in the discipline as the Poggendorff, after its founder, this dictionary is now complete with the publication of volume 8, part 3, 140 years after its founding in 1863. The plans for volume 8 were announced with the publication of part 1, fascicle 1, by the Akademie-Verlag in 1995 (see RREO 95-4-646 and -647). Since then, Wiley took over the remaining work; hence the ISBNs for both publishers are given here.

In contrast with prior volumes, volume 8 introduces no new scientists but only continues and, where possible, closes entries for the ca. 7,000 scientists included in earlier volumes. The most important post-GDR change in the publication is that titles of “bibliographies judged reliable by the editors” have been replaced with call numbers in the libraries of the University of Leipzig or the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. A category for archival material, with location and call number, was added, and an appendix now contains a list of periodicals, as well as sections for additions and corrections.

Is a project like the Poggendorff still appropriate today? The Saxony Academy of Sciences has decided that it is not, due to the “rapidly developing electronic capture of the scientific literature of the present and past,” and has decided to “bring the preparation of the reference work to a swift conclusion.” However, the deliberate and systematic comprehensiveness of this work, which does not shrink from listing publications in less-common languages, will surely guarantee its continued use into the future. Most researchers will likely use the DVD-ROM edition (see RREA 12:268), which makes it easier to view articles on scientists with articles spanning several volumes in a single place. [sh/rb]

Biographisch-literarisches Handwörterbuch der exakten Naturwissenschaften [Bio-Biiographical-Literary Dictionary of the Exact Sciences]. J. C. Poggendorff. Ed. Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig. 2d, complete ed. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, 2004. 1 DVD-ROM + insert, 2p. ISBN 3-527-40322-: EUR 1,399; EUR 799 (for purchasers of the 1st ed.) [06-2-382]

Although the DVD-ROM that reproduces and indexes the entire Poggendorff was unavailable for review, it will obviously be a useful product. Fields available for simple and combined searches include name, place and year of birth, place and year of death, and fields of study (in German, e.g., Physik, Meteorologie, Geologie, Atmosphärenphysik, Radioaktivität, Ozeanographie). Regrettably, the DVD-ROM does not include the Mathematik supplement to the Poggendorf, also published in 2004 and reviewed in this issue (see RREA 12:277). [sh/rb]

Bibliographia Halleriana: Verzeichnis der Schriften von und über Albrecht von Haller [Bibliography of Albrecht von Haller: Works by and about Him]. Ed. Hubert Steinke and Claudia Profos. Basel: Schwabe, 2004. 452 p. ill. map. 28 cm. (Studia Halleriana, 8). ISBN 3-7965-1326-3: EUR 52.50 [06-2-383]

Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777) was not only “one of the most prominent scientists of his time” (p. 16), professor of anatomy, botany, and surgery at the University of Göttingen in Germany (1736-1753), but also the founder and compiler of bibliographies in his scientific fields (Bibliotheca anatomica, etc.)—and a poet and novelist. With his didactic poem Die Alpen [The Alps] (1729), he created a literary work that had considerable influence in changing the way nature was viewed in the 18th century. In later life he wrote historical novels in the Baroque literary tradition. However, his scientific works far outweigh his literary ones, a fact reflected in the bibliography.

Haller was a Swiss by birth, born in the city of Bern. The Bibliographia originated within the framework of the “Bern Haller project” and was completed by two institutions of his home city, the Medizinhistorisches Institut der Universität Bern [Institute of Medical History of the University of Bern] and the Burgerbibliothek [Public Library of] Bern, which owns a part of Haller’s archive. Another large part of his archive and large personal library, together with other collections, became the core of the Biblioteca Braidense in Milan. In terms of size, scope, and significance, this is one of the most impressive large personal bibliographies published in recent years.

The “Berner Haller-Projekt” has also created a web site about Albrecht von Haller (http://www.haller.unibe.ch) which includes information about his life and works. The bibliographical part falls under the headings: Primary literature, Letters, Secondary literature, Literature since 1991, and Haller texts online (where one encounters a number of dead links). The online bibliography draws from the print version without attempting to duplicate it. The “Literature since 1991” section includes citations of secondary literature by year and is useful as a supplement to update the print bibliography. [sh/akb]


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