In The Little Book of Scientific Principles, Theories and Things Surendra Verma
devotes a page to each of 175 scientific topics. Starting with Pythagoras, the book includes such names as Galileo, Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking and many more besides.
It looks at the three laws of thermodynamics, the theories of special and of general relativity, and topics from astronomy, geology, chemistry, and biology. I liked the chronological ordering of the topics, as I felt that it really helped to give the context in which ideas were developed and to give the reader a sense of the history of a subject. However, there are some problems with the book. Firstly, I thought that Verma should have found something to fill the thousand year gap between Ptolemy's epicycles and Fibonacci's numbers. More seriously, I felt that Verma is sometimes not sufficently accurate in what he writes. For instance, he claims that many mathematicians consider that Euclid's 5th postulate can be derived from the other four, when in fact Non-Euclidean mathematics emerges from the fact that it cannot be so derived. Such problems reduce the value of the book as a reference work. However, I still think that the book would be useful for dipping into from time to time, and so getting a gentle introduction to a wide range of scientific topics