When I was growing up, in the ’60s, I had a fantastic set of science and nature book from LIFE magazine [1] called the LIFE Science Library, and another similar set called the LIFE Nature Library. You can still get these on EBay, and I did:


(The Feynman and Hubble books, on the left and right, aren’t part of the library. They were just accidentally in frame.)

And here’s a selection of covers:


LIFE magazine had always been known for its photography, and these had great pics, but where they really shone (shined?) was in the detail, and in their terrifically creative graphics.

Here’s a selection of graphics from the same volumes as above:


The left one is a cartoon about relativity, then a cool graphic about chemical reactions downstream from methane, then a similar graphic about the history of mathematics, and finally (far right, cut off) a graphic about how computers compute interplanetary trajectories.

It’s actually fairly amazing how the “lay” level of science hasn’t changed all that much since the ’60s when these were first created.

About once/week I try to get Leo interested in one of the topics represented by these wonderful volumes. Sometimes it works, and sometimes not so much. For a long time he was obsessed by the one on Giant Molecules, and he’s still fascinated by the one on Time, and reads the relativity cartoon over and over.

In fact, he recently decided he was going to make his own science library. Here’s a YouTube video of how that worked out.


[1] Life was bought by Time sometime in the 20th Century, creating Time/Life, and was eventually folded, I think. Here is what remains of it.