Cover image for The cutting edge : an encyclopedia of advanced technologies.
The cutting edge : an encyclopedia of advanced technologies.
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
360 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
T9 .C96 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material

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An authoritative, easy-to-use guide to the advanced systems and techniques that are making--or will soon make--a major impact on our lives, in such areas as computing, communications, biotechnology, medicine, national defense, space, education, entertainment, and the environment. The CuttingEdge includes 120 original entries that go far beyond basic technological information to include: the history of a technology, how it works, its present applications and the issues--ethical, legal, environmental, political, scientific--which surround it. It serves a wide audience, from high schoolstudents and their teachers in science and social studies courses to college undergraduates and general readers who want to know not only how a new technology works--but also understand its historical context and the potential impact on our lives.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

As our high-tech world becomes increasingly complex, readers may want to know, "How does it work?" The Cutting Edge is a resource that explains more than expected topics such as DNA fingerprinting, e-books, or nanotechnology. More than 100 A^-Z entries are each generally three or four pages in length and include a description of the technology, an illustration or photograph, historical background, uses, and controversies. Related topics and bibliographies including books, journals, and Web sites are listed at the end of each entry. The discussions on "Issues and Debates" point out questions regarding the use of a technology. Some of the entries, such as Food irradiation or Genetic testing, show a pro-implementation bias. The writing is not too technical and is suitable for the general adult reader. Because these technologies are rapidly developing, the contributors are careful to indicate when the information was gathered. For instance, the entry on Internet search engines and portals reports a 1998 estimate that the Internet will have one billion pages by the year 2000. This volume's coverage differs from that of other short technology encyclopedias such as The Facts On File Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Society [RBB Ap 15 99] or the second edition of Gale's World of Scientific Discovery (1999) because the focus is on the technology and questions surrounding its implementation. It will be a very useful addition to science and technology collections.

Library Journal Review

An illustrated overview aimed more at general readers than researchers, this work emphasizes a wide, yet highly selective, range of technologies associated with space and ocean exploration, biotechnology, the environment, national defense, information processing, communications, transportation, entertainment, health and medicine, and the home. The 102 signed, alphabetically arranged articles describe in very basic, nontechnical language how the technology works, how it was developed, the issues and debate it generates, and its capabilities and potential uses. While the idea behind the book is potentially appealing, this overview is a bit light on content and, despite the title, not "cutting edge" enough to be included in an academic library reference collection. Younger readers writing a school report might find this volume just right, though. Recommended for public libraries that serve larger populations of junior high and high school students. (Index and contributors' list not seen; Allstetter is editor of Science and Technology Almanac, while Schuyler is coauthor of History of the Internet.)DPaul G. Haschak, Southeastern Louisiana Univ. Lib., Hammond (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The Cutting Edge attempts to explain "cutting edge technologies in terms that the high school, college, and lay researcher can understand." Entries are well written and cover topics in which high school, undergraduate, and general researchers are commonly interested. For this audience, it is a better initial source than the more detailed McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. Coverage focuses on newsworthy technologies affecting daily life; more ordinary technologies are not included and should be sought in sources like Facts on File Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Society (CH, Sep'99). Alphabetically arranged entries span biological, physical, and information sciences and include scientific and technological descriptions; histories; uses, effects, and limitations; and issues and debates. Illustrations and photographs accompany entries but are less helpful in explaining technologies than those in The Way Science Works (1995). The bibliography that accompanies each entry lists Internet resources. Entries include cross-references, and there are indexes of personal and corporate names. Most entries are appropriately global, although a few fall short (e.g., "computer animation" does not mention Japanese anime). This, and the fact that the alphabetical arrangement is awkward in places (e.g., airplane fuel technology, not fuel technology, airplane), are the only failings of this otherwise fine resource. K. Manuel; California State University, Hayward