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Discoveries and Inventions

Einstein's Theory of Relativity 
by Alan Morgan
The First Computers 
by Guy de la Bédoyère
The First Polio Vaccine
by Guy de la Bédoyère
The Discovery of DNA             
by Camilla de la Bédoyère
The Discovery of Penicillin  by Guy de la Bédoyère
Splitting the Atom
by Alan Morton 
(Evans Brothers Ltd)   
These books are from a series called Milestones in Modern Science and look at the key scientific developments of the twentieth century.  The content of each book is very accurate and presented in an interesting format, with plenty of pictures, photographs and diagrams.  Difficult concepts are made very easy to grasp and the use of fact boxes in the text breaks up what could be quite dry material for children struggling with science.  The photographs make the scientists accessible and prove they were real people (apparently a small percentage of British people think Einstein is a fictional character!).  Examples of real life situations - cystic fibrosis and GM foods in the DNA book, super bugs in the Penicillin book - make it easier to relate abstract research topics to everyday science. Some details in the books may cause problems for more sensitive children, or those whose religion disagrees with certain aspects of science.  For example: the DNA book refers to Darwin and evolution, and there are pictures of animals in labs (but not in cages or with nasty things on their heads). But, in general, these books are suitable for all.    
(reviewed by Kim Wise)
Buy Einstein's Theory of Relativity from Amazon  
Buy The First Computers from Amazon
Buy The First Polio Vaccine from Amazon   
Buy The Discovery of DNA from Amazon   
Buy The Discovery of Penicillin from Amazon   
Buy Splitting the Atom from Amazon 

by Richard Platt
Striking layouts, full colour photography and well-written text combine to make this book visually appealing and interesting to read. Each invention has a double page spread to itself, detailing the background to the invention, a brief biography of the inventor, the eureka moment when he made his breakthrough and the way the invention was developed. The book covers 35 inventions in all, ranging from the telescope to cornflakes and is a good choice for budding scientists and school libraries.
Ages 8-adult
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Edison's Fantastic Phonograph
by Diana Kimpton
(Frances Lincoln)
Edisen's first recording of sound was one of those breakthrough moments in invention - one that changed life dramatically and began a whole new industry. This picture book uses fiction based on fact to capture the excitement of that breakthrough and the hard work that led up to it. The science behind the invention is woven into the story and the involvement of Edison's daughter, Dot, adds extra interest for children. It's hard for me to review this book fairly as I wrote it but I feel safe including it here as it had excellent reviews in The School Librarian and Books for Keeps.
Ages 5+, KS1 and KS2
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