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.
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by Sam Kean
by Paul Allen
by Paul Halpern
by Pedro G. Ferreira
by J.L. Heilbron
by John Steinbeck
by Sam Cabot
by Sam Sykes
"The periodic table of the elements, generally credited to the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869, provides "a useful framework to classify, systematize, and compare all of the many different forms of chemical behavior." The author uses Mendeleev's table and its numerous revisions to write a history of science and scientists, which at times, may poke its head above the comfortable lexicon of many general listeners. However, writer Kean's ability to ferret out the lighter side of events makes for an addictive and educational experience. Narrator Sean Runnette proves himself to be the perfect surrogate for the author as he pronounces every name and obscure technical term without flaw. His connected reading shows that he understands the subtle humor, irony, and impact of such a clever history. J.A.H. (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine"
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