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: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements


By (author) Sam Kean

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  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
  • Format: Paperback | 391 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 206mm x 33mm | 295g
  • Publication date: 6 June 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0316051632
  • ISBN 13: 9780316051637
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: , black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 14,369

Product description

From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes incredible stories of science, history, finance, mythology, the arts, medicine, and more, as told by the Periodic Table. Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why is gallium (Ga, 31) the go-to element for laboratory pranksters?* The Periodic Table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of adventure, betrayal, and obsession. These fascinating tales follow every element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, and in the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. THE DISAPPEARING SPOON masterfully fuses science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, and discovery--from the Big Bang through the end of time. *Though solid at room temperature, gallium is a moldable metal that melts at 84 degrees Fahrenheit. A classic science prank is to mold gallium spoons, serve them with tea, and watch guests recoil as their utensils disappear.

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Author information

Sam Kean is the author of the "New York Times "bestsellers "The Disappearing Spoon "and "The Violinist's Thumb "and the forthcoming book "The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons. "His work has appeared in the "New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, "and "New Scientist "and has been featured on NPR's "Radiolab, All Things Considered, "and "Fresh Air."

Review quote

""The Disappearing Spoon" shines a welcome light on the beauty of the periodic table. Follow plain speaking and humorous Sam Kean into its intricate geography and stray into astronomy, biology, and history, learn of neon rain and gas warfare, meet both ruthless and selfless scientists, and before it is over fall head over heels for the anything but arcane subject of chemistry." Bill Streever, "author of Cold""