The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
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... show more
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.
Publish date: 2010-07-12
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages no: 394
Edition language: English
Storytelling at its best. The author steps through the periodic table and tells the stories he knows about the elements' uses, discoveries, etc. The stories are all short, and therefore, of course, a little over-simplified. I don't think some of them would pass a rigorous scholarly historical int...
This book is a fun romp through chemistry's periodic table, and an enjoyable read. Sam Kean has a real knack for picking stories about the elements (and the creation of the table itself) that are not only informative, but make entertaining reading. Kean focuses on the personalities of the scienti...
Not currently reviewing due to change in Goodreads review policy. May update later.
A fun read, for a certain value of fun. This is a book for science geeks, or those curious about science. If you're a full-fledged science geek, this could be a relatively light side read. If you're more of a layman, it's an opportunity to read some science that shouldn't be too far over your head, ...
very impressive, very well-edited prose dealing with the various interesting elements of the periodic table. Kean in one or two places over-explains, he has a noticeable stylistic quirk of suddenly bringing up a contemporary reference yttrium is a very interesting element. it is used in record playe...