Eureka! : the May 2016 Slavonic item(s) of the month

Books in the series ‘Evrika!’ (Eureka!) were published from the 1960s until 1991.  In them, burning questions in the fields of science, technology, and the humanities were addressed in layman’s terms by acknowledged specialists.  The results were hugely popular – and very nicely designed.  The University Library has recently bought 25 titles in the series, with more to come.

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The covers of some of our recent purchases

The series’ publisher, Molodaia gvardiia (Young Guard), specialised during the Soviet period in children’s books and in easy-to-read publications on weighty matters.  With ‘Evrika!’, many books could fall into either camp, but we have catalogued them all with the subject subdivision ‘Popular works’ rather than ‘Juvenile literature’.

If it was the artwork on the covers that initially caught my eye, it is also fascinating to see the subjects covered by the series – from astronautics to botany, from technology to psychology.  Most explore the achievements of past and current academics and scientists.  Some look further.  ‘Zaglianem v budushchee’ (We’ll take a look into the future) consists of pieces by leading experts on the technological and scientific leaps they expect to see at the turn of the millennium; a chapter on communication discusses computers and binary code.  Other titles look further spatially as well as temporally – ‘Kto vy?’ (Who are you?) discusses the discovery of life on other planets.

The Library already held nine books in the series, and our recent purchases now take the total of ‘Evrika’ titles held to 34.  Readers can find the books catalogued so far by doing a specific series title search.

We do not intend to collect every single title in the series, but at least one more is already on its way.  When I discovered that Gagarin had co-written a ‘Evrika!’ book, it was impossible to resist buying it.  As this link to the record for the copy we have ordered shows, the Gagarin volume (‘Psikhologiia i kosmos’ = Psychology and space) has a rather more brooding cover than the usual fare.  To cheer ourselves up again, here are the covers of some other titles on the subject of space exploration.

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The covers of, left to right, ‘First steps’ by A. Ivanov, ‘Cosmic bridges’ by Vladimir Gubarev, and ‘Space belongs to earth dwellers’ by G. Beregovoi.

Mel Bach

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