Format: Trade Paperback and ebook
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Publication Date: 10
Source: Purchased (ebook) and Library (paperback)
From the publisher:
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.
The Hubster is a chemist so it seemed appropriate for me to read this. I’ve actually had the ebook in my library for years. It was the What’s In a Name challenge that finally got me to start it because I needed a title with an item of cutlery in it.
This was fun. I wasn’t a big chemistry fan in school. I enjoyed my physics classes much more but as this book shows the elements of the Periodic Table are integral to both branches of science.
This was extremely readable and even the complex scientific material is easy to understand. Kean has also inserted more humor into this book than I expected. It’s really more about the scientists than it is about the actual elements. There are extensive notes which I found quite helpful.
It’s full of tidbits of scientific history and I learned a lot as I was being entertained along the way. I kept reading bits and pieces to The Hubster and I think he’s going to read it too.
If you like your scientific history with a bit of fun you should read this. I will definitely be taking a look at Kean’s other books.