The best of the best in published scholarship

March 15, 2006

The January 2006 issue of Choice magazine presented their annual list of Outstanding Academic Titles, including five Springer books in the subjects earth science, physics, mathematics and astronautics and astronomy. Choice is the premier source for reviews of academic books, electronic media, and Internet resources of interest to those in higher education.

Every year Choice publishes a list of the Outstanding Academic Titles (OAT) that were reviewed the previous calendar year. From nearly 6,600 titles reviewed by Choice during 2005, about 660 books and electronic resources are chosen by the editorial staff. Generally a total of about 23,000 titles are submitted annually to the internationally renowned magazine. The list of Outstanding Academic Titles reflects the best in scholarly publishing reviewed by Choice and brings with it the extraordinary recognition of the academic library community. These titles have been selected for their overall excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contribution to the field and their originality or uniqueness among other criteria. About the Springer Outstanding Academic Titles:

Antarctic Ecosystems: Environmental Contamination, Climate Change, and Human Impact. Antarctic Ecosystems is an extensive, comprehensive analysis of this last of the earth's great pristine wildernesses. It is multi- and interdisciplinary in scope, based on extensive personal research by the author and painstaking consideration of the vast amount of associated literature. Docent Bargagli (Univ. of Siena, Italy) has undertaken a balanced overview of major environmental issues such as the ozone hole and the breakup of the ice shelves linked to global warming. He admirably counteracts the current tendency toward dramatization.

Introduction to Optics. This is another book in the "Advanced Texts in Physics" series from Springer. A thoroughly updated translation from the original French by Chartier (Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, France), the book is intended for advanced undergraduates or graduate students. However, a professional in a related field would also find it a superb introduction to the subject.

Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Near Side of the Moon. NASA´s classic Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Moon from1971 was marred by scanning artifacts inherent in the data collection method. Using modern software and computer imaging techniques, Byrne (formerly, system engineer, Apollo Program for Lunar Orbiter Photography) has removed many artifacts and balanced the contrast in the images. Although the images are not printed at the same scale as the original publication, the sharpness of revised images makes these among the loveliest images of the moon ever printed. The accompanying CD-ROM includes all the images in a downloadable format.

Lectures on Partial Differential Equations Undergraduate students of mathematics, physics, and engineering all study ordinary differential equations (ODEs), but few have a serious encounter with partial differential equations (PDEs) before graduate school, if then. Because PDEs model so many things, they display a vast diversity of behavior and admit no unified theory. So, with apologies to Tolstoy, every ODE book runs the same, but each PDE book frames the subject in its own way. Arnold (Steklov Mathematical Institute, Russia) has long held a reputation as one of the world's leaders in dynamics and geometry. The author's stature and the book's lucidity make this an essential acquisition for all college libraries.

Mars--a Warmer, Wetter Planet This exhaustive, effusive, and enthusiastic book conveys the excitement of frontline scientific research about as well as can be done. Kargel describes himself as a member of the "Tucson Mafia," a group of scientists in full rebellion against the "Mars Establishment" and its belief in a cold, dry Mars. His ideas are presented in meticulous detail, supported by hundreds of superb pictures, many taken by the author himself. Some--perhaps most--of his ideas are controversial and may ultimately prove to be wrong, as he himself often points out, but we have to applaud the (sometimes career-risking) courage with which he has pursued them. In spite of the large amount of rather technical information, the reader is swept along by the author's enthusiasm in conveying it and ability to integrate it into a coherent vision.


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