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

Synopsis: 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.

Published: June, 2011 | ISBN-13: 978-0316051637

Author’s Homepage: http://samkean.com
Author’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/sam_kean

An excellent, hugely entertaining and easy to read account of the history of the chemical elements. A line from the book sums it up perfectly “the periodic table is filled with rich, unpredictable stories if you know where to look” @reneewebs

The Guardian Book Review
NYTimes Book Review

[image credit: http://samkean.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/fullDScover.jpg]

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