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

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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

Format:  Paperback,

391 pages

Publisher: Little Brown & Co

Publish Date: Jun 2011

ISBN-13: 9780316051637

ISBN-10: 0316051632

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
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.

Specifications

Author:
Publisher: Little Brown & Co
Publish Date: Jun 2011
ISBN-13: 9780316051637
ISBN-10: 0316051632
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 391
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 0.8
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.3

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2010-11-01)

Science magazine writer Kean's first book presents fascinating anecdotes about each of the known elements of the periodic table and the scientists who discovered them, e.g., how lithium helped cure poet Robert Lowell of his mental illness and how gallium became the prime element for chemical pranksters (it dissolves in ordinary tea-hence, the title). Kean's love for science, invention, investigation, and discovery shines in this flow of fun facts. Audie Award winner Sean Runnette's lucid, energetic narration is well suited to the author's wit, flair, and authority in this entertaining audio that nicely supplements Theodore Gray's massive The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe. Kean's welcome debut will inform general listeners and serve as a valuable reference for chemistry faculty. Highly recommended.

- Dale Farris, Groves, TX

(c). Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal (2010-05-01)

Kean, an award-winning freelance news and science writer, intertwines fascinating stories with biographical sketches about the scientists who contributed to the discovery of the 118 elements found in the current periodic table. From hydrogen to ununoctium, the filling out of Mendeleev's original 19th-century periodic table is a curious story of history, politics, etymology, alchemy, and mythology. Kean primarily concentrates on discoveries since the dawn of the nuclear age and postulates on elements yet to be discovered.

Verdict: Aiming at a general audience with a cursory knowledge of science and chemistry, Kean writes in a whimsical yet easy-to-read style. Although he includes copious notes, his book complements rather than replaces Eric Scerri's excellent The Periodic Table: Its Story and Its Significance. Highly recommended for public libraries and for amateur, high school, and undergraduate scientists wishing to be informed as well as entertained.

-Ian D. Gordon, Brock Univ. Lib., St. Catharines, Ont.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Royal Society Prizes for Science Books (formerly Aventis Prizes for Science Books), 2011 (United Kingdom)

Book description

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 SPOONmasterfully 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.

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