Terry'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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Mar 16, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: history, science, 2012, audiobook, non-fiction
Read from March 16 to 18, 2012

This book is a collection of anecdotes with a semi-theme to them. This is not an exhaustive review of the history of the periodic table although that's covered nor is it a discussion of each element although many are discussed.

Disappearing Spoon is very much a stage two book meaning you get more out of it if you're already familiar with the topic. Mendeleev, periodicity, electron shielding, and some quantum effects are covered but by no means at a level where one read and be comfortable with how they're brought up. But the for the already familiar, this book is a treasure trove of addenda, marginalia, and esoterica regarding the history of this tool in chemistry.

I found it terribly enjoyable and hard to stop listening to.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Caroline (last edited Apr 12, 2012 12:40AM) (new) - added it

Caroline I found your review very helpful. I'm definitely a stage one reader - knowing absolutely zilch about chemistry. Do you think I could also enjoy reading it? The anecdotes sound a delight, but my understanding of the science would be zero.


Terry I do think you could enjoy reading with a little backup. For instance, it really helps to have a periodic table in front of you whether it be the one in the book or another. Also, a little primer to remind you of things as you go may also help: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIxiDE...

If you do read it, please tell me if you did or didn't find it enjoyable.


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