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The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales…

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the…

by Sam Kean

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
Very entertaining book. A walk thru the periodic table conducted by a tour guide with a sense of humor. The stories range from light laughs to nearly tears. Highly recommended. ( )
  Whiskey3pa | Oct 14, 2016 |
Short stories incorporating multiple disciplines
  CharliePipes | Sep 12, 2016 |
A great read for any chemistry geeks out there. I loved the stories Kean incorporates into this one but overall, I found it to be a tad heavy on the science, so really best geared as a read for chemistry/ periodic table geeks first. ( )
  lkernagh | Aug 21, 2016 |
Unshelved recommends it, and the reasons Chrissie didn't like it are ones that wouldn't bother me.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
Fantastic book. I wish this book had been around when I was taking Chemistry. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kean, Samprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Staehle, WillCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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As a child in the early 1980s, I tended to talk with things in my mouth—food, dentist's tubes, balloons that would fly away, whatever—and if no one else was around, I'd talk anyway.
Never underestimate spite as a motivator for genius.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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(from the book jacket) Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium (Cd, 48)? How did radium (Ra, 88) ruin Marie Curie’s reputation? And why did tellurium (Te, 52) lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history?
The periodic table is one of our crowning scientific achievements, but it’s also a treasure trove of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The fascinating tales in The Disappearing Spoon follow carbon, neon, silicon, gold, and every single element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.
Why did a little lithium (Li, 3) help cure poet Robert Lowell of his madness? And how did gallium (Ga, 31) become the go-to element for laboratory pranksters? The Disappearing Spoon has the answers, fusing science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, discovery, and alchemy, from the big bang through the end of time.
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Talk of chemistry / usually bores me to tears / But here's Godzilla! (MiaCulpa)

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The periodic table of the elements is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of passion, adventure, obsession, and betrayal. These tales follow carbon, neon, silicon, gold, and all the elements in the table as they play out their parts in human history. The usual suspects are here, like Marie Curie (and her radioactive journey to the discovery of polonium and radium) and William Shockley (who is credited, not exactly justly, with the discovery of the silicon transistor)--but the more obscure characters provide some of the best stories, like Paul Emile François Lecoq de Boisbaudran, whose discovery of gallium, a metal with a low melting point, gives this book its title: a spoon made of gallium will melt in a cup of tea.--From publisher description.… (more)

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