The New Penguin Dictionary of Science (Penguin Reference Books)

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9780141010748: The New Penguin Dictionary of Science (Penguin Reference Books)

This highly successful reference book is an indispensable tool for students and professionals. Revised and updated for its second edition, THE NEW PENGUIN DICTIONARY OF SCIENCE covers terms used in a wide range of topics, including molecular biology, biochemistry, astronomy and computing. The 7000 definitions are supported by illustrations and diagrams, making this the most accessible and comprehensive dictionary of science available.

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FRACTAL

An object with fractional dimension. This is surprising concept until one appreciates the subtlety of the definition of dimension. Many formal definitions are possible, concerned, for example, with the space-filling properties of an object. Fractals are infinitely detailed, and display self-similarity (i.e. they have a similar, though usually not identical, appearance at any magnification), as shown by the well known Mandelbrot set. Fractals are often associated with chaos theory.

PHEROMONE

A chemical substance used as a specific signal by some organisms to communicate with one another. Many insects and some mammals use pheromones to mark out territories and to attract mates. They are usually volatile organic molecules which are effective at very low concentrations (of the order of 1 ppm in many instances).

SUPERCOOLING

When a solution cools quickly, the temperature may fall below its freezing point without solid being formed because of a kinetic delay in the crystallization process. This forms a supersaturated solution. Once freezing does occur, the temperature rises again to the freezing point. Clouds and fog at temperatures below 0C often contain supercooled water droplets which form ice only when some substance is introduced to allow nucleation (such as dust, a car windscreen or an aircraft's wings).

About the Author:

M J Clugston is a chemistry teacher at Tonbridge school. He has published textbooks for the A-level market as well as a number of computer programs.

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