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 was a popular series of hardbound books published by Time-Life between 1963 and 1967. Each of the 26 volumes explored a major topic of the natural sciences. They were intended for, and written at a level appropriate to, an educated lay readership. In each volume, the text of each of eight chapters was 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 took complex scientific concepts and provided explanations that could be easily understood. Einstein's Theory of Relativity was explained in a cartoon about a spy drama involving a train traveling very close to the speed of light; probability 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 were 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". The 26 volumes in the series were:

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