Rebecca'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
Aug 27, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction
Read in August, 2011

I quite enjoyed this book, even though it was a bit more scientific than I thought, which I know is a fatuous thing to say when it's obviously a science book. I just thought it would be more of a microhistory about the elements--their discovery, uses, associated anecdotes, etc.--and it does have that aspect, but it also has a lot of (for me) heavy duty science about electron shells and the alpha constant and much more that I guess my brain isn't wired to understand easily. So I basically skipped those parts and focused on how the element gallium looks very like aluminum when solid, but melts at such low temperatures that even holding it in your hand can make it soften. I watched a video of a gallium spoon melting instantly when put into hot tea, and that was kind of amazing. So, I enjoyed the book, but didn't understand all of it.

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