The title's a bit grandiose, since this 864-page anthology deals almost solely with Western science and, moreover, except for a few poems, includes no pre-20th-century entries (no Newton, for instance). . .but never mind. What's between the covers is magnificent, a royal flush of exemplary passages, expertly edited by Ferris (Coming of Age in the Milky Way, etc.), by scientists who write (Feynman, Hawking, Einstein, etc.) and writers who write about science (Annie Dillard, Primo Levi, Ferris himself). Included are firsthand accounts of scientific breakthroughs (Einstein on ""E=MC2,"" Heisenberg on ""The Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Theory""); science exposition (Carl Sagan and Anne Druyan on ""Astride the Comet""); memoir (Stanislaw Ulam on ""Los Alamos""); philosophy (Heisenberg again, on ""Positivism, Metaphysics, and Religion""); biography (C.P. Snow on ""Rutherford,"" Lee Dembart on 77-year-old ""Paul Erdos: Mathematician,"" who has no home, having ""traveled continuously for 50 years, never spending more than a month in one place""). Poems by Whitman, Updike, Pope, and many others round out this splendid, deeply informative volume, first in a projected series of World Treasuries (others will cover religious thought, science fiction, mystery and detection, and so on).