Signed Edition Sweepstakes
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | September 17, 2014

Merritt Tierce: IMG Has My Husband Read It?



My first novel, Love Me Back, was published on September 16. Writing the book took seven years, and along the way three chapters were published in... Continue »

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$16.00
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
5 Beaverton Chemistry- General
16 Burnside Chemistry- General
1 Hawthorne Chemistry- General
25 Local Warehouse Chemistry- Inorganic
25 Remote Warehouse Chemistry- General

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

by

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements Cover

ISBN13: 9780316051637
ISBN10: 0316051632
All Product Details

 

Staff Pick

Sam Kean proves that chemistry makes for great storytelling with this entertaining look at the human stories behind the elements found in the periodic table. A delightful history of science, The Disappearing Spoon makes for both an engaging and enlightening read.
Recommended by Michal D., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why is gallium (Ga, 31) the go-to element for laboratory pranksters?*

The Periodic Table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of adventure, betrayal, and obsession. These fascinating tales follow every element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, and in the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. The Disappearing Spoon masterfully fuses science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, and discovery — from the Big Bang through the end of time.

*Though solid at room temperature, gallium is a moldable metal that melts at 84 degrees Fahrenheit. A classic science prank is to mold gallium spoons, serve them with tea, and watch guests recoil as their utensils disappear.

Review:

"Kean...unpacks the periodic table's bag of tricks with such aplomb and fascination that material normally as heavy as lead transmutes into gold." Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Kean's writing sparks like small shocks...he gives science a whiz-bang verve so that every page becomes one you cannot wait to turn just to see what he's going reveal next." The Boston Globe

Review:

"[Kean turns] The Disappearing Spoon into a nonstop parade of lively science stories...ebullient." New York Times

Review:

"Kean's palpable enthusiasm and the thrill of knowledge and invention the book imparts can infect even the most right-brained reader." Miami Herald

Review:

"With a constant flow of fun facts bubbling to the surface, Kean writes with wit, flair, and authority in a debut that will delight even general readers." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Nearly 150 years of wide-ranging science...and Kean makes it all interesting. Entertaining and enlightening." Kirkus

Review:

"Fascinating stories...Kean writes in a whimsical yet easy-to-read style." Library Journal

Book News Annotation:

Mere mention of the Periodic Table may cause science-challenged readers to turn a deaf ear, but Kean makes the abbreviated symbols come to life with witty and interesting stories about the role the elements play in our lives. It might have been easier to memorize the table if you knew such facts as Ga, 31 is gallium, named by a Frenchman Le Coq de Boisbaudran for France which means Gallia in Latin, and that he used it to make a teaspoon that would dissolve at 87 degrees Fahrenheit and melt in a teacup. No mineral, or metal, is left unturned in this lively historical perspective. Kean is a current writer for Science magazine. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Sam Kean spent years collecting mercury from broken thermometers as a kid, and now he is a writer in Washington, D.C. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, Air & Space/Smithsonian, and New Scientist. In 2009 he was a runner-up for the National Association of Science Writers' Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for best science writer under the age of thirty. He currently writes for Science and is a 2009-2010 Middlebury Environmental Journalism fellow.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Rich Grubb Jr, October 26, 2013 (view all comments by Rich Grubb Jr)
Very enjoyable read. Great stories of people, discoveries, and how much has been discovered in the relatively recent history of science. I recommend this book to everyone as an easy read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Lwaxana, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Lwaxana)
I never thought I would love a book whose subject is the Periodic Table of the Elements. But this book is readable and funny and wise, and even a liberal-arts person like me can savor it. I learned quite a few things while having a wonderful time. Reading experiences don't get much better than that!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Edna Mode, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Edna Mode)
This is not chemistry as I've seen it taught in schools - though if more classes included stories, history and background information about the elements like this, it's more likely kids would enjoy chemistry and easily remember data. A fascinating and different approach, and a highly recommended book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780316051637
Subtitle:
And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
Author:
Kean, Sam
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Binding:
TRADE PAPER

Other books you might like

  1. The Imperfectionists
    Used Hardcover $4.95
  2. The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance...
    Used Trade Paper $9.95
  3. State of Wonder
    Used Hardcover $6.50
  4. A Visit from the Goon Squad
    Used Trade Paper $7.50
  5. A Renegade History of the United States
    Used Trade Paper $7.95
  6. Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead
    Sale Trade Paper $7.98

Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Bestsellers
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Science
History and Social Science » World History » General
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Chemistry » General
Science and Mathematics » Chemistry » Inorganic
Science and Mathematics » Featured Titles in Tech » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Featured Titles

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details pages Back Bay Books - English 9780316051637 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Sam Kean proves that chemistry makes for great storytelling with this entertaining look at the human stories behind the elements found in the periodic table. A delightful history of science, The Disappearing Spoon makes for both an engaging and enlightening read.

"Review" by , "Kean...unpacks the periodic table's bag of tricks with such aplomb and fascination that material normally as heavy as lead transmutes into gold."
"Review" by , "Kean's writing sparks like small shocks...he gives science a whiz-bang verve so that every page becomes one you cannot wait to turn just to see what he's going reveal next."
"Review" by , "[Kean turns] The Disappearing Spoon into a nonstop parade of lively science stories...ebullient."
"Review" by , "Kean's palpable enthusiasm and the thrill of knowledge and invention the book imparts can infect even the most right-brained reader."
"Review" by , "With a constant flow of fun facts bubbling to the surface, Kean writes with wit, flair, and authority in a debut that will delight even general readers."
"Review" by , "Nearly 150 years of wide-ranging science...and Kean makes it all interesting. Entertaining and enlightening."
"Review" by , "Fascinating stories...Kean writes in a whimsical yet easy-to-read style."
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.