CALENDAR OF CREATIVE MAN, by John Paxton and Sheila Fairfield (Facts on File, $27.50). From the beginning of literacy (in Mesopotamia, about 3000 B.C.) to the moon landings, electronic music and conceptual art of recent years, this book by two editors of The Stateman's Earbook surveys mankind's most notable achievements in literature, architecture and the visual and performing arts. These are listed in chronological order, in six vertical columns divided by categories, so that you can survey a particular time by reading across the two-page spread or follow a particular field ("Literature," "Music," "Dance and Drama," etc.) by reading down its column. Two further columns, down the outside of each two-page spread present occasional landmarks in political history or technology as reference points, though the emphasis is on the arts. Thus, a person browsing through 1885, for example, can correlate the achievement of self-government in Korea with the birth of Alban Berg, Renoir's Les Grandes Baigneuses, the construction of the Victor Emmanuel Monument in Rome and Pasteur's first successful, inoculation against rabies -- not to mention a Japanese book on The Essence of the Novel by Tsubouchi Toyo, who also translated Sir Walter Scott. This is a handy, quick wasy to absorb historic facts and trends, but people with interests beyond the arts will find a much higher concentration of raw data for the same price in James Trager's more miscellaneous compilation from last year, The People's Chronology (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, $27.95). In comparison, Calendar of Creative Man has a relatively uncluttered air and more information in its chosen areas (though not on some subtopics such as Broadway musical shows). An index would have enhanced its value as a reference work. ALBUM OF SCIENCE: From Leonardo to Lavoisier: 1450-1800, by L. Bernard Cohen (Scribner, $37.50). In 368 carefully chosen black-and-white pictured and a succinct, readable running commentary, Cohen traces the history of science from its infancy in the Renaissance through its adolescence in the Age of Enlightenment. The contents are splendidly varied, from Durer's drawing of a rhinoceros he had never seen to early microscopes and telescopes, 18th-century experiments with magic-lantern projection, a humorous anatomical cartoon showing spat between the skeleton of a dog and the skeleton of a cat, a cadaver being injected with a syringe that looks like bicycle pump, primitive electric generators and batteries, a 17th-century chemical laboratory, a skull with its top removed and the brain showing. The artistic quality of the pictures varies as wildly as the subject-matter, but they should have an intense interest for students of the history of science. COMPARISONS, by The Diagram Group (St. Martin's, $15). A wild array of facts about the relative size, speed, quantity, lifespan, strength and distance of people, animals and things -- indeed, almost any fact that can be expressed numerically on subjects that range from an amoeba to the solar system -- presented in pictures, graphs, diagrams and other visual techniques. The information is miscellaneous and often hypothetical: if the Hindenberg had been stood on its end next to the Empire State Building, it would have reached almost to the windows on the 62nd floor; if people continued to grow at the rate of the last three months before birth, they would be over 18 feet tall by age 10; approximately 64 percent of the world's population lives in Asia; the spine-tailed swift can fly at speeds of over 100 mph., while the honeybee bumbles along at 11 mph. The value of such information for the average reader may be questioned, but it is splendidly displayed.