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Atlas of Science: Visualizing What We Know Hardcover – 2 Nov 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press (2 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262014459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262014458
  • Product Dimensions: 33 x 2.5 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 615,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"In today's confusing and fast-changing world, if we are to shape our children's lives for the best, it is essential that we understand what science is thinking, where it's coming from, and where it's going. This fascinating, lucid, brilliantly illustrated book shows us all that." --James Burke, author of Connections "Science is a voyage of discovery and Katy Borner has provided its first atlas. This excellent book offers a compendium of all that is best in explaining visual maps of our scientific knowledge." --Michael Batty, University College London, author of Cities and Complexity: Understanding Cities with Cellular Automata, Agent-Based Models, and Fractals (MIT Press)

"In the 'Atlas of Science', information scientist Katy Borner highlights examples that summarise the evolution of research and its interlocking communities in pictorial form. The book accompanies Borner s ambitious travelling exhibitions, 'Places & Spaces: Mapping Science', an ongoing programme of well-crafted visual presentations that have conveyed aspects of science to the public in libraries and museums since 2005 (http://scimaps.org). Contributors to the book get bylines and photos, making the collection a collaborative effort with diverse voices. Each two-page spread is a sumptuous feast of dense prose, delicious visuals and engaging quotations....Borner sets out the story of scientific map-making well. She shows a range of examples based on aspects of science: geographical maps, historical timelines, taxonomic hierarchies, citation networks and various forms of textual graphics. Readers will learn about the geographic concentrations of the creative class in Europe, North America and Japan; Wikipedia editing patterns; rising patent citations; and pathways to discoveries such as the structure of DNA....Borner s magnificent book offers provocative new maps of science that will inspire fresh thinking." --Ben Shneiderman, Nature

"Featuring one unique and intriguing visual design after another, Atlas of Science illustrates the origin and evolution of science mapping." --Chaomei Chen, Drexel University, author of Mapping Scientific Frontiers

About the Author

Katy Borner is the Victor H. Yngve Professor of Information Science at the School of Library and Information Science and Founding Director of the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center at Indiana University. She is a curator of the Places & Spaces: Mapping Science exhibit. Her research focuses on the development of data analysis and visualization techniques for information access, understanding, and management. She is particularly interested in the study of the structure and evolution of scientific disciplines; the analysis and visualization of online activity; and the development of cyberinfrastructures for large scale scientific collaboration and computation. She holds a MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Technology in Leipzig, 1991 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Kaiserslautern, 1997.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Olle Edqvist on 21 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is a pathbreaking effort to show different ways to map sciences and scientific progress. It gives an outline of the history of science maps, presents also many of the persons behind the different ways of displaying the figures and facts about science. from the early knowledge compilers of the 18th century to some of the leading people in Open Access of the present. The important milestones in mapping science are illustrated with examples, and their authors, along a time axis.

The conceptualization of science, including data acquisition, analysis, modeling and layout of different data is treated in some detail. Particularly different types of network analysis are well illustrated throughout the book. A whole chapter is dealing with spatial analysis, with nice examples from different times. Interesting case studies of how maps can be used to help us understand very complicated process of change are given (e. g. changes in important Wikipedia articles, forcasting large trends in science, disciplinary links in science).

It is a very useful reference work if you are looking for ways to describe complicated and big data sets (not only in science). But it is also a beautiful book in a large format with a great number of illustrations to the text which gives it a value above the scientific. It is a book which should interest many types of readers and which even can be left on the coffee table for casual browsing.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robby on 10 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Although many of the graphics are indeed painstakingly crafted, I frankly expected content that was more accessible in terms of a simple map of how sciences are interrelated, mainly with UP CLOSE graphic content particularly with respect to the interfaces of distinct sciences.

Where is the map of how M-theory interfaces String Theory, Quantum Mechanics and Cosmology for instance? Was it too big a project to be included? Where is the CMBR IMAP data that Penrose and his colleague analyzed in late 2010 that shows there were at least TWO big-bang events, not one? Where in the sky, exactly, is this humongous structure, and how big is it to the unaided eye? Isn't this supposed to be an ATLAS of what we know? Where is the timeline of challenges and tests of Einstein's general relativity up to the present GPS satellites, and the 30 year missing solar neutrino mystery, and the revelation at CERN that the speed of light may actually NOT be the universal speed limit that relativity always assumed?

The science of Mathematics could fill an entire page of graphics, and how 21st century internet technology has benefited from various mathematical disciplines could probably fill hundreds of pages, all by itself. Stephen Wolfram tried to do this and largely failed, but this doesn't mean everyone should simply stop trying.

Where is the theory of Evo-Devo in this Atlas? Even the simplest graphics from this theory never fail to impress.

Sorry, but for all its promise, this book doesn't even belong UNDER my coffee table.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This detailed, richly illustrated Atlas is the first of its kind 8 Nov. 2010
By Bonnie DeVarco - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Katy Borner's Atlas of Science is a large format, richly illustrated book introducing satellite views of science from above. With the importance of data visualization as a reflection and new visual language for contemporary culture, having a better sense of this similar but entirely new genre of Science Maps based on 'big data' is critical. Borner's book goes far beyond beauty by being the first Atlas of its kind. A highlight of the book is the "Milestones in Mapping Science" timeline covering 1930 to 2007 in 20 pages. The process, techniques and reference systems used in creating these highly refined maps are also described in great detail. So the book acts as a superb, highly visual introduction to the field for students, professionals and the general public. Another highlight: readers can access much of the material online in a companion site. High resolution images, all references, the history of the atlas, and events are all linked from [...] - Enjoy!
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
a science happy meal 24 Jan. 2011
By drpath - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The ATLAS OF SCIENCE is brain food. It is like a giant science buffet...
For anyone interested in mind bending conceptual formulations of what we know,
where we can be, how we got here, who's going with us, it is a lip smacking delight.
I'm pacing myself for another run through the buffet line.
17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Nerds Gone Wild! 24 Dec. 2011
By John Richard Schrock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Atlas of Science: Visualizing What We Know" by Katy Borner, MIT Press, 2010.

Anyone with less than a bachelors degree, and probably only then with a science major, will open this colorfully illustrated coffetable-book and go "Huh?" Those with the prerequisite knowledge to understand the extensive graphics will be fascinated. Unfortunately, this mix of science and history is contaminated with science futurism; there are parts that more correctly should be filed by librarians under science fiction.

The most enjoyable sections are the biographical snippets that explain how various (mostly computer pioneer) luminaries contributed to various stages in the analysis of scientific advancement. However, the perspective of the book is through the new digital generation and lacks the expertise of veteran scientists who would have rightly dampened the futurist gloss. For instance, in tracing the history of maps, it begins with the ptolemaic system rather than earlier T-O maps that were "oriented" with East at the top, hence the meaning of the term "to orient a map."

One recurring pioneer thinker is Eugene Garfield, familiar to earlier users of "Current Contents." He was inventor of the science citation index that rates a publication's value on the number of times it is then cited. Modifications of this procedure have been used for substantial portions of graphic analyses. This may be useful for molecular biology or cancer research where each new discovery immediately triggers the next step. But in systematics, a monographic revision of a group should "quiet" the field for some time; if it is immediately followed by extensive citations, that would nearly always indicate that the revision was erroneous and generated extensive objections. In other words, there are quality factors that in many graphs are totally ignored for quantity measures. Therefore, those who promote this technology without any understanding of its appropriate and inappropriate uses promote concepts that are not only pollyanna but downright destructive. Thus this atlas is schizophrenic.

One clear case is represented in the "Science Maps for Kids" section where a narrow selection of computer games are hyped as the wave of the future, ignoring massive evidence of videogame addiction that has decimated male participation in academics across all developed countries for the last 15 years.

Ironically, Garfield once interviewed Linus Pauling and asked how Pauling came up with his discoveries in biochemistry. Pauling revealed that it took extensive experience and time to think; a process that is not aided in any way by "science methods" or analyses such as are in this book. In other words, this book is analogous to baseball statistics, fabulously interesting to the baseball fan but of limited or no value to the rookie training for the game. Yes, the graphics showing that the more an author is cited, the more grants and prestige flow to them ("knowledge equals power") are a true reflection of the politics of science, but it is worrisome that decision makers have already mis-used such data for decades.

Another major error that continually reoccurs is the confusion of "information" with "knowledge" as if they were the same. "The enormous increase in our collective knowledge..." is but one of many examples. Until the Rosetta Stone was discovered, the hieroglyphs were information, but we did not "know" what they meant. The accumulation of information into the "world brain" and other "knowledge webs" shows a complete lack of understanding of the role of education. Essentially, "no experience, no meaning."

While various "mapping science workshops" from 2005 to 2007 brought bonafide expertise together to produce valid big science "visualizations," the most serious and obvious pseudoscience is seen in heavy reference to Wikipedia, where group wisdom and science often do not come together. Not only is the science quality of Wikipedia never questioned, the Wikipedia methodology is held as a wonderful example of future compendia; in truth it is the replacement of expert review with amateurism. This blindness throughout the narrative, as well as the future-hype, seriously detracts from the sections of graphics that are valid and useful.

Throughout this tome, there is an underlying theme that the future will be completely online, open source and digital (whatever that means). The ultimate irony is that this book, while accessible through a website with extended hyperlinks to everywhere, is in print, and it is in this format that it is most easily read and deeply understood.

John Richard Schrock
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An Important and Insighful Book 5 Nov. 2010
By martin dodge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a large book and is packed with ideas and images of how the structures of scientific knowledge can be mapped. It is full of contemporary details, historical information, and the people involved in visualizing science. The lavish production and quality design from MIT Press make this a book well worth owning.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful 30 Dec. 2010
By Costx - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great for all ages. I got this to help get children interested in science with the great pictures. But now I don't want their dirty little hands touching it! LOL
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