Life Science Library

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James D. Watson on the cover of The Scientist (1964), an early volume in the Life Science Library.

The Life Science Library is a series of hardbound books published by Time-Life between 1963 and 1967, popular in its prime. Each of the twenty-six volumes explore a major topic of the natural sciences. They are intended for, and written at a level appropriate to, an educated lay readership. In each volume, the text of each of eight chapters is followed by a "Picture Essay" lavishly illustrating the subject of the preceding chapter. They were available in a monthly subscription from Life magazine. Each volume takes complex scientific concepts and provides explanations that can be easily understood. Einstein's Theory of Relativity is explained in a cartoon about a spy drama involving a train traveling very close to the speed of light; probability is explained with poker hands and the atomic table with common household items. Although progress has overtaken much of them, their explanations of basic science and the history of discovery in an area is still excellent. The Consulting Editors of the series are microbiologist Rene Dubos, physicist Henry Margenau, and physicist and novelist C.P. Snow.

Each volume was written by a primary author or authors, "and the Editors of LIFE". These are the twenty-six volumes in the series:

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