Synopses & Reviews
What ingredient in Coke can remove rust from chrome? What is the bitterest substance on earth? What is the worst smelling one? In this entertaining tour of chemistry, John Emsley answers these and many other questions as he illuminates the materials that make up our world. Dozens of lively articles explore such well-known molecules as water, oxygen, and glass; versatile plastics like polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyurethane; even "elements from hell" such as Sarin (a lethal nerve gas). With no formulas, equations, or molecular diagrams to baffle the non-expert, each piece blends history, science, and anecdote, with many intriguing facts added to the mix.
"The world of chemistry has never been made as entertaining," writes Nobel Prize-winning chemist Roald Hoffmann. Indeed, this book will fascinate everyone curious about the chemicals in the foods we eat, the clothes we wear, and the air we breathe.
"Uniquely brings home how chemistry impinges on every aspect of our daily lives.... A broad spectrum of chemicals and applications are discussed clearly and succinctly. The book's format is unique in its treatment of a wide range of chemicals, offering a broader perspective on the role of chemistry and science in everyday life."--Science and Technology
What ingredient in Coke can remove rust from chrome? What is the bitterest substance on earth? What is the worst smelling one? In this entertaining tour of chemistry, Emsley answers these and many other questions as he illuminates the materials that make up our world.
What is it in chocolate that makes us feel good when we eat it? What's the molecule that turns men on? What's the secret of Coca-Cola? In this book, the author takes us on a guided tour through a rogue's gallery of molecules, some harmful, some pleasant, showing how they affect our lives.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -238) and index.
About the Author
is Science Writer in Residence at the Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine. A regular broadcaster on scientific topics, Emsley wrote the "Molecule of the Month" column for The Independent
from 1990 to 1996. He lives in London.
Table of Contents
A quick guide to things large and small
Gallery 1. Nearly as nature intended: some curious molecules in the foods we eat
Gallery 2. Testing your metal: the metals which our bodies must have
Gallery 3. Starting lives, saving lives, screwing up lives: molecules that can help or harm us
Gallery 4. Home, sweet home: detergents, dangers, delights, and delusions
Gallery 5. Material progress and immaterial observations: molecules that make life a little easier
Gallery 6. Landscape room - environmental cons, concerns, and comments: molecules that stalk the world
Gallery 7. We're on the road to nowhere: molecules to transport us
Gallery 8. Elements from Hell: molecules that are mainly malevolent
Appendix: molecular portraits on display in this book