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Your Atomic Self: The Invisible Elements That Connect You to Everything Else in the Universe

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  76 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
What do atoms have to do with your life? In Your Atomic Self, scientist Curt Stager reveals how they connect you to some of the most amazing things in the universe.

You will follow your oxygen atoms through fire and water and from forests to your fingernails. Hydrogen atoms will wriggle into your hair and betray where you live and what you have been drinking. The carbon in
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Dana Nourie
Nov 16, 2014 Dana Nourie rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic. I couldn't put it down! For me this book is right up there with Your Inner Fish. Your Atomic Self explains the beginnings of each element, and how they end up in our bodies, what happens when they get there, and how we benefit from them.

This is not a difficult physics or chemistry book, but instead the author explains well, for instance, how carbon and oxygen end up in our bodies from car emissions, the foods we eat, and what we drink.

There are hundreds of interesting tid
John Lindemuth
May 06, 2015 John Lindemuth rated it it was amazing
Curt Stager is the rarest of scientific writers, he can both write and present good science. The book, while detailed is eminently readable and logical. It takes the reader from atoms to outpace and, by definition from outspace back to atoms. The book answers many fundamental questions about the life of our planet and the lack of life that exists within our own bodies. At the book's end some nearly spiritual reflections penetrate the reader and pose additional questions about the familiarity of ...more
Apr 23, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
I was exactly the Carl Sagan loving hippie atheist that this book was conceived/designed/written for. I knew I had to have it nearly the second I heard it existed. (First I had to check its bona fides to make sure that it wasn't a tome of woo. It wasn't.)

But early in the book I struggled to love it as much as I wanted to love it. Was Stager just not yet hitting his stride in balancing his scientific and poetic language? Were my expectations just unreasonable? Was it my common struggle of wanting
P. Es
Dec 18, 2014 P. Es rated it it was ok
I really have to say he should have stuck with just elaborating something fascinating like our chemical commonalities with everything around us - but he really, really wants to present some sort of 'spiritual materialism' in this book (I guess it's a 'demographic' authors can write for now, in lieu of such from non-spiritual atheists like Hitch, Dawkins, et al). Anyone who would read the narrative portions without the reductionistic 'guidance' would come to the kind of appreciation he seeks to i ...more
Casey Schreiner
Nov 20, 2014 Casey Schreiner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little drier than I was expecting from the excerpts I read, but overall this is a fascinating read with some truly poetic moments.
Adam Lee
Apr 28, 2015 Adam Lee rated it it was amazing
Like Hugh Aldersey-Williams' _Periodic Tales_ (one of my favorite popular science books), Stager's book explores the cycles of the elements, only with a sharper focus on those that play a crucial role in biological life: hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, iron, calcium and so on. Although his prose gets a bit too flowery at times, there was a definite Saganesque spirit to his musings on how nature connects the stuff of our selves to the ecosystem of the planet and the cosmos as a whole.
Sep 17, 2014 Lucas rated it it was amazing
A fascinating discussion of the atomic nature and scale of identity and being. This books takes the reader on a metaphysical journey on the nature of existence.

I won this book through the GoodReads Giveaways.
Feb 06, 2015 Pamela rated it really liked it
Excellent. Challenging, informative. Science with a touch of poetic. Another dimension of self and being, explored from the atomic realm.
Rayfes Mondal
Oct 28, 2015 Rayfes Mondal rated it really liked it
The fun journey of the atoms that comprise you, the earth, and the heavens. We are more connected than it appears.
Nov 28, 2015 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In some ways an incredibly spiritual book. We're all connected, you know?
Donna Luu
Jan 14, 2015 Donna Luu rated it liked it
Maybe the best part was the suggestion (made by someone else) to have a physicist speak at one's funeral. I stick by my previous comment regarding the improper use of comparisons in which something is 1000 times smaller than something else.
Mills College Library
530 S7798 2014
Mar 07, 2015 Amy rated it liked it
It is a well-written and lovely book. It broadly covers, as it claims, the atoms that make us up. But I'm finding that lately I crave a bit more depth and understanding of one subject, say, just one atom. So, while the facts were interesting, they felt a bit trivial.
Jacquelyn Fusco
Apr 21, 2015 Jacquelyn Fusco rated it it was amazing
Great, interesting science book for a novice like me!
Mar 09, 2015 Beth rated it liked it
This book was mostly earth science/ecology. I was expecting more about the chemistry of the human body.
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CURT STAGER is a climate scientist, educator, and science journalist whose research over the last three decades has dealt with the climatic and ecological histories of the Adirondacks, Peru, and much of Africa. He has published numerous research articles in major journals including Science and Quaternary Research, was an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and has wr ...more
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“We humans may think of ourselves as solid objects, all flesh and bone. But take a close look, and it’s clear our bodies are composed largely of oxygen and hydrogen. We are essentially ephemeral – akin as much to wind water, and fire as to earth.” 2 likes
“atomic motions cause the waxing and waning of rivers, so too do they produce the transient body that you—whatever “you” means—currently inhabit before its substance flows back into the great global sea of atoms. Consider, then, the particles that are departing your body at this very moment. There is no need to wait for death to scatter you to the winds, waters, and soils of the world. It is already happening.” 0 likes
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