Offering comprehensive coverage of topics in popular science, with explanations that are thorough, jargon free, and well illustrated, the latest edition of this six-volume set has some very user-friendly features. The 14 sections (e.g., "Astronomy and Space Science"; "Mathematics") consist of signed articles, each of which could stand on its own as a thorough introduction to a particular topic. Authors are subject experts from across North America. Collectively, articles in each section are arranged to provide a logical, step-by-step exploration of a specific field of scientific study. The updated set (from the 2003 edition) has more photos and illustrations, comprising more than a third of its pages; most of the artwork is in full color. Throughout, both standard measurements and their metric equivalents are provided. Fields of study are shown on the appropriate front cover and spine; the back cover lists all 14 sections, with sections contained within that particular volume highlighted in red. Each volume includes an annotated bibliography of selected readings and an index that covers all six volumes. Useful appendixes in Volume 6-Nobel prize winners in Science; important constants for the physical sciences; units and symbols; the metric system; weights and measures; conversion factors; and lists of notable volcanoes, earthquakes, manned space flights, and manned shuttle flights-offer ready reference. Bottom Line Compiled for middle and high school students, this set also makes a very useful addition to community college libraries and public libraries of all sizes. Highly recommended.-Denise Dayton, Jaffrey Grade Sch., NH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.