Vanity, Vitality, and Virility

Vanity, Vitality, and Virility : The Science Behind the Products You Love to Buy

3.61 (62 ratings by Goodreads)
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"Vanity, Vitality, and Virility" is a fascinating portrait gallery of chemicals involved in our everyday life, from Viagra and selenium to whispering asphalt, nappies, and chewing gum. While it will not advise you what to do if you want to improve your looks, your health, your peace of mind or your sex life, it explains the science behind many of the products that claim to be able to do just that. Chemistry is too often associated with poisonous gases and strange bubbling solutions, yet it is all around us, and inside us too. Renowned science communicator John Emsley lifts the lid on the secrets inside the products we use every more

Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 144.8 x 223.5 x 22.9mm | 362.88g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0192806734
  • 9780192806734

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Vanity - no more wrinkles?; 2. Vitality - food for thought; 3. Virility, sterility, and Viagra; 4. Germs warfare; 5. It's all in the mind; 6. Polymers in unlikely guises; Postscript - a risk worth taking?; Glossary; Bibliography; Indexshow more

Review quote

"Emsley knows his everyday chemicals like a farmer knows his sheep.... From depression to cleaning your bathroom, Alzheimer's disease to chewing gum, he discusses the common compounds used in everyday products and remedies and assesses how, why and whether they work."--Financial Times"Emsley clearly loves his subject, and writes in a lively style that enhances the fascinating tales he tells, like how castor oil--the object of great disdain in another form--became an essential ingredient in lipstick, or how Viagra's future may include being sold in the form of chewing gum."--Gregory Mott, Washington Post"His subjects jump from lipstick and sunscreen to trans-fats and vitamin C, bleach, Prozac, baby diapers and Viagra (hence the third V of the title).... The book can be read cover to cover or used as a reference, but either way, even chemists will find out some surprising facts."--Publishers Weekly"Emsley is a champion of the many ways chemicals ease our lives, and in the book's final pages he says he hopes to dispel the 'chemiphobia' of those who think that anything chemical must be bad."--Science News"In this engaging work, Emsley succeeds on two major points: he provides the chemistry background that most consumers lack to analyze the advertising and media claims behind everyday products, foods, and medical treatments; and he makes a sound case against the rampant 'chemiphobia' that equates the word chemical with artificial, or worse, toxic."--Library Journal"Emsley explores the science that goes into meeting our needs and satisfying our desires. From lipstick to love potions, vitamins to Viagra, he explains facts and explodes myths. Clever chemistry is everywhere: fighting germs in kitchens and bathrooms, sucking up what babies deposit in their diapers, perking people up when they feel down and even giving teenagers something to chew on. Like it or not, we all use the fruits of the chemical industry and, with Emsley's help, we can be better informed about them and know how to respond to the more outlandish scare stories about 'chemicals'."--Peter Budd, New Scientistshow more

About John Emsley

John Emsley is Science Writer in Residence in the Chemistry Department at the University of Cambridge. He wrote a "Molecule of the Month" column for the Independent for many years, received a Glaxo award for science writing and the Chemical Industries Association's President's Award for science communication. His books include Molecules in an Exhibition and Nature's Building more

Rating details

62 ratings
3.61 out of 5 stars
5 19% (12)
4 37% (23)
3 32% (20)
2 8% (5)
1 3% (2)
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