Molecules That Amaze Us

by Paul May and Simon Cotton

Synopsis: The world is composed of molecules. Some are synthetic while many others are products of nature. Molecules That Amaze Us presents the stories behind many of the most famous and infamous molecules that make up our modern world. Examples include the molecule responsible for the spicy heat in chilies (capsaicin), the world’s first synthetic painkiller (aspirin), the pigment responsible for the color of autumn leaves (carotene), the explosive in dynamite (nitroglycerine), the antimalarial drug (quinine), the drug known as “speed” (methamphetamine), and many others.

Other molecules discussed include caffeine, adrenaline, cholesterol, cocaine, digitalis, dopamine, glucose, insulin, methane, nicotine, oxytocin, penicillin, carbon dioxide, limonene, and testosterone. In all, the book includes 67 sections, each describing a different molecule, what it does, how it is made, and why it is so interesting.

Written by experts in the field, the book is accessible and easy to read. It includes amusing anecdotes, historical curiosities, and entertaining facts about each molecule, thereby balancing educational content with entertainment. The book is heavily illustrated with relevant photographs, images, and cartoons—the aim being both to educate and entertain.

Published: October 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1466589605

Mini-bio: Paul May is a Professor of Physical Chemistry at Bristol University in the UK. As well as teaching, his research involves the deposition of thin films of artificial diamond. Although he writes a lot of scientific and technical papers as part of his job, he also enjoys writing science-fiction stories, 5 of which he collated into a book. – Adapted from Amazon

Mini-bio: Simon Cotton is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham – Adapted from his University Profile

Chemistry World Book Review

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