Eyewitness Encyclopedia of Space and the Universe
DK Multimedia has a definite talent for making reference tools that straddle the line between user-friendly glitz and useful amounts of information. Eyewitness Encyclopedia of Space and the Universe is no exception. The first things you’ll notice upon booting up are the crisp graphics, the impressive 3D models, the beautifully vivid photographs (many of them from the Hubble telescope), and the easily comprehensible interface. Click around a little and you’ll begin to see that the program backs up its flash with plenty of weight. This is not an incredibly in-depth CD-ROM, but it does manage to pack in a lot on a single disc. The discussion of relativity, for example, will not explain the theory to people who have tried and failed to understand relativity in the past. On the other hand, it’s far from skimpy; the section includes general and special relativity, animations to illustrate tricky points, and a useful How Do We Know? side trip that details the experiments used to prove Einstein’s theories. Not bad for a CD-ROM that also contains a virtual planetarium, a Who’s Who of astronomers and scientists, two activities, and topics ranging from the asteroid belt and the creation of the universe to deep space and wormholes (a theoretical super-black hole stretching between two universes, as any good Trekkie should know). A typical entry will explain a phenomenon in a very agreeable way – the discussion of Pluto uses plain English and helpful multimedia to illustrate a synchronous orbit – and then offers up a lot of hard facts to placate budding scientists. Eyewitness Encyclopedia of Space and the Universe is a particularly good addition to DK Multimedia’s Eyewitness Encyclopedia series which works especially well when all the titles are used as a set.
– September 1996, Science & Nature
Previous | Science Index | Next