mariemarron, January 30, 2011 (view all comments by mariemarron)
It always warms my heart to find someone else who has such a love for the periodic table. I've read a lot of books about it but I think this is my favorite. Sam's writing style is engaging and he certainly did a lot of research. History is not really my thing so to be able to learn about it in the context of something I enjoy was a boon to me. There are so many intriguing stories that I would recommend it to anyone, not just science geeks like myself!
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Thomas Kirby, August 11, 2010 (view all comments by Thomas Kirby)
This is a great book, written with humor, history and science. I learned new things about the elements, chemistry and physics, although it is not a textbook, nor written as one. All you need is a passing interest in science to be entertained by this book. I highly recommend it!
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The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
0 stars -
Little Brown and Company -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Science magazine reporter Kean views the periodic table as one of the great achievements of humankind, 'an anthropological marvel,' full of stories about our connection with the physical world. Funny, even chilling tales are associated with each element, and Kean relates many. The title refers to gallium (Ga, 31), which melts at 84° F, prompting a practical joke among 'chemical cognoscenti': shape gallium into spoons, 'serve them with tea, and watch as your guests recoil when their Earl Grey eats their utensils.' Along with Dmitri Mendeleyev, the father of the periodic table, Kean is in his element as he presents a parade of entertaining anecdotes about scientists (mad and otherwise) while covering such topics as thallium (Tl, 81) poisoning, the invention of the silicon (Si, 14) transistor, and how the ruthenium (Ru, 44) fountain pen point made million for the Parker company. 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. 10 b&w illus. (July 12)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The Periodic Table is one of man's crowning scientific achievements. But it's also a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The infectious tales and astounding details in The Disappearing Spoon follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.
We learn that Marie Curie used to provoke jealousy in colleagues' wives when she'd invite them into closets to see her glow-in-the-dark experiments. And that Lewis and Clark swallowed mercury capsules across the country and their campsites are still detectable by the poison in the ground. Why did Gandhi hate iodine? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium? And why did tellurium lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history, from the Big Bang to the end of time, it's all in The Disappearing Spoon.
The infectious tales and astounding details in The Disappearing Spoon follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the frequently mad scientists who discovered them.
An eye-opening adventure deep inside theand#160;everyday materials that surround us,and#160;from concrete and steel to denim and chocolate, packed with surprising stories and fascinating science.
From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes incredible stories of science, history, finance, mythology, the arts, medicine, and more, as told by the Periodic Table. 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.
A New York Times Bestseller
An eye-opening adventure deep inside the everyday materials that surround us, packed with surprising stories and fascinating science
Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. A globally-renowned materials scientist, Miodownik has spent his life exploring objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world.
In Stuff Matters, Miodownik entertainingly examines the materials he encounters in a typical morning, from the steel in his razor and the graphite in his pencil to the foam in his sneakers and the concrete in a nearby skyscraper. He offers a compendium of the most astounding histories and marvelous scientific breakthroughs in the material world, including:
The imprisoned alchemist who saved himself from execution by creating the first European porcelain.
The hidden gem of the Milky Way, a planet five times the size of Earth, made entirely of diamond.
Graphene, the thinnest, strongest, stiffest material in existenceandmdash;only a single atom thickandmdash;that could be used to make entire buildings sensitive to touch.
From the teacup to the jet engine, the silicon chip to the paper clip, the plastic in our appliances to the elastic in our underpants, our lives are overflowing with materials. Full of enthralling tales of the miracles of engineering that permeate our lives, Stuff Matters will make you see stuff in a whole new way.
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