Gretchen'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
Feb 17, 2012

really liked it

I had high hopes for this book, with its focus on the human stories and historic view of the periodic table. It was funny in parts and absolutely riveting in sections, especially when the author was able to bring the people(s) involved in elemental discoveries to light in ways outside of their scientific role (political defectors, medical marvels, cheaters, etc.). At times, however, I felt very bogged down by the science of it all and the cast of characters most involved in elemental discoveries. Certain names would pop up chapters later and I had a hard time recalling their earlier involvements. But all in all, I learned quite a bit about the method of "discovering" elements and was amused along the way. Especially at the end when the author expounds on the (poor, out-dated) design of the periodic table and proclaims that its contents are a universal "language" with which we can communicate with other alien life forms. Huh.

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message 1: by Christine (new)

Christine My dad (aka chemistry nerd) loved this book :)

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