About the book (from Wikipedia):
Science and Civilisation in China (1954–) is a series of books initiated and edited by British biochemist, historian and sinologist Sir Joseph Needham, Ph.D (1900–1995). They deal with the history of science and technology in China. To date there have been seven volumes in twenty-seven books. The series was on the Modern Library Board’s 100 Best Nonfiction books of the 20th century.
In 1954, Needham—along with an international team of collaborators—initiated the project to study the science, technology, and civilisation of ancient China. This project produced a series of volumes published by Cambridge University Press. The project is still continuing under the guidance of the Publications Board of the Needham Research Institute (NRI), chaired by Christopher Cullen.