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

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
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's review
Mar 10, 2011

really liked it
Read from February 27 to March 09, 2011

"What started as a scientific argument became a political dispute about territory and boundaries. Such is science, such is life."

This book is interesting, readable, witty, and often fascinating. There are few books out there on the "central science" of chemistry that aren't actual educational textbooks. Physics gets a lot of wear with philosophical meanderings about quanta and astrologica, and biology is endless with genetics and sociological minutiae, but chemistry is often just relegated to what I've learned in my studies: a very large set of rules with an even larger set of exceptions.

This book details the history, intricacies, fun-facts, and a decent amount of science behind the periodic table- both the table per se, as well as the elements behind it. The author takes cues from single elements, their histories and properties and how that has affected human history, but also human history and research and how that played into the discovery of elements. There's a remarkable story here, the cast of characters and lineage of things, and the author really presents it in both an informative and curiousity-peaking way.

When you're done with A Brief History Of Time, pick this one up.

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