The Disappearing Spoon

And Other True Tales of Madness, Love and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
Author: Sam Kean
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0857520261
Category: Chemical elements
Page: 391
View: 4672

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Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium (Cd, 48)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why did tellurium (Te, 52) lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history? The periodic table is one of our crowning scientific achievements, but it's also a treasure trove of passion, adventure, betrayal and obsession. The fascinating tales in The Disappearing Spoon follow carbon, neon, silicon, gold and every single element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. Why did a little lithium (Li, 3) help cure poet Robert Lowell of his madness? And how did gallium (Ga, 31) become the go-to element for laboratory pranksters? The Disappearing Spoon has the answers, fusing science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, discovery and alchemy, from the big bang through to the end of time.

The Disappearing Spoon

And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
Author: Sam Kean
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 9780316089081
Category: Science
Page: 400
View: 1401

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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.

Periodic Tales

The Curious Lives of the Elements
Author: Hugh Aldersey-Williams
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 0141041455
Category: Chemical elements
Page: 428
View: 3376

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'The history, science, art, literature and everyday applications of all the elements from aluminium to zinc' The Times Everything in the universe is made of them, including you. Like you, the elements have personalities, attitudes, talents, shortcomings, stories rich with meaning. Here you'll meet iron that rains from the heavens and noble gases that light the way to vice. You'll learn how lead can tell your future while zinc may one day line your coffin. You'll discover what connects the bones in your body with the Whitehouse in Washington, the glow of a streetlamp with the salt on your dinner table. Unlocking their astonishing secrets and colourful pasts, Periodic Tales is a voyage of wonder and discovery, showing that their stories are our stories, and their lives are inextricable from our own. 'Science writing at its best. A fascinating and beautiful literary anthology, bringing them to life as personalities. If only chemistry had been like this at school. A rich compilation of delicious tales' Matt Ridley, Prospect 'A love letter to the chemical elements. Aldersey-Williams is full of good stories and he knows how to tell them well' Sunday Telegraph 'Great fun to read and an endless fund of unlikely and improbable anecdotes' Financial Times

The Violinist's Thumb

And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code
Author: Sam Kean
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: 9780316202985
Category: SCIENCE
Page: 243
View: 1259

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From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes more incredible stories of science, history, language, and music, as told by our own DNA. In The Disappearing Spoon, bestselling author Sam Kean unlocked the mysteries of the periodic table. In THE VIOLINIST'S THUMB, he explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA. There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking. They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists. Kean's vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species' future.

A Tale of Seven Elements


Author: Eric Scerri
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0195391314
Category: Science
Page: 200
View: 4974

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In A Tale of Seven Elements, Eric Scerri presents the fascinating history of those seven elements discovered to be mysteriously "missing" from the periodic table in 1913.

Cathedrals of Science

The Personalities and Rivalries That Made Modern Chemistry
Author: Patrick Coffey
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199886547
Category: Science
Page: 400
View: 2690

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In Cathedrals of Science, Patrick Coffey describes how chemistry got its modern footing-how thirteen brilliant men and one woman struggled with the laws of the universe and with each other. They wanted to discover how the world worked, but they also wanted credit for making those discoveries, and their personalities often affected how that credit was assigned. Gilbert Lewis, for example, could be reclusive and resentful, and his enmity with Walther Nernst may have cost him the Nobel Prize; Irving Langmuir, gregarious and charming, "rediscovered" Lewis's theory of the chemical bond and received much of the credit for it. Langmuir's personality smoothed his path to the Nobel Prize over Lewis. Coffey deals with moral and societal issues as well. These same scientists were the first to be seen by their countries as military assets. Fritz Haber, dubbed the "father of chemical warfare," pioneered the use of poison gas in World War I-vividly described-and Glenn Seaborg and Harold Urey were leaders in World War II's Manhattan Project; Urey and Linus Pauling worked for nuclear disarmament after the war. Science was not always fair, and many were excluded. The Nazis pushed Jewish scientists like Haber from their posts in the 1930s. Anti-Semitism was also a force in American chemistry, and few women were allowed in; Pauling, for example, used his influence to cut off the funding and block the publications of his rival, Dorothy Wrinch. Cathedrals of Science paints a colorful portrait of the building of modern chemistry from the late 19th to the mid-20th century.

Caesar's Last Breath

Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us
Author: Sam Kean
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 0316381632
Category: Science
Page: 384
View: 5942

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The Guardian's Best Science Book of 2017 One of Science News's Favorite Science Books of 2017 The fascinating science and history of the air we breathe It's invisible. It's ever-present. Without it, you would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell. In Caesar's Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it. With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation. Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we'll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time. Lively, witty, and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar's Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.

The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons

The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery
Author: Sam Kean
Publisher: Hachette UK
ISBN: 031624225X
Category: Science
Page: 416
View: 9346

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The author of the bestseller The Disappearing Spoon reveals the secret inner workings of the brain through strange but true stories. Early studies of the human brain used a simple method: wait for misfortune to strike -- strokes, seizures, infectious diseases, horrendous accidents -- and see how victims coped. In many cases their survival was miraculous, if puzzling. Observers were amazed by the transformations that took place when different parts of the brain were destroyed, altering victims' personalities. Parents suddenly couldn't recognize their own children. Pillars of the community became pathological liars. Some people couldn't speak but could still sing. In The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, Sam Kean travels through time with stories of neurological curiosities: phantom limbs, Siamese twin brains, viruses that eat patients' memories, blind people who see through their tongues. He weaves these narratives together with prose that makes the pages fly by, to create a story of discovery that reaches back to the 1500s and the high-profile jousting accident that inspired this book's title.* With the lucid, masterful explanations and razor-sharp wit his fans have come to expect, Kean explores the brain's secret passageways and recounts the forgotten tales of the ordinary people whose struggles, resilience, and deep humanity made neuroscience possible. *"The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons" refers to the case of French king Henri II, who in 1559 was lanced through the skull during a joust, resulting in one of the most significant cases in neuroscience history. For hundreds of years scientists have gained important lessons from traumatic accidents and illnesses, and such misfortunes still represent their greatest resource for discovery.

The Elements of Murder

A History of Poison
Author: John Emsley
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192806000
Category: Health & Fitness
Page: 418
View: 7714

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A fascinating account of the five most toxic elements describes the lethal chemical properties of arsenic, antimony, lead, mercury, and thallium, as well as their use in some of the most famous murder cases in history, with profiles of such deadly poisoners as Mary Ann Cotton, Michael Swango, and Saddam Hussein and a look at modern-day environmental catastrophes.

The Storytelling Animal

How Stories Make Us Human
Author: Jonathan Gottschall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0547391404
Category: Science
Page: 248
View: 9202

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Explores the latest beliefs about why people tell stories and what stories reveal about human nature, offering insights into such related topics as universal themes and what it means to have a storytelling brain.

The Periodic Table

Its Story and Its Significance
Author: Eric R. Scerri
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0195305736
Category: Mathematics
Page: 346
View: 5972

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Offers a comprehensive overview of the periodic table, exploring the importance of both the periodic table and the elements themselves as well as how the elements have been interpreted by chemists and philosophers throughout history.

The Age of Radiance

The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era
Author: Craig Nelson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 145166043X
Category: History
Page: 448
View: 2441

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A narrative of the Atomic Age by the award-winning author of Rocket Man explores the complexities of nuclear energy, citing the contributions of such individuals as Marie Curie, Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer while sharing lesser-known historical details.

Distillation Troubleshooting


Author: Henry Z. Kister
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118216350
Category: Technology & Engineering
Page: 752
View: 1233

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THE FIRST BOOK OF ITS KIND ON DISTILLATION TECHNOLOGY The last half-century of research on distillation has tremendously improved our understanding and design of industrial distillation equipment and systems. High-speed computers have taken over the design, control, and operation of towers. Invention and innovation in tower internals have greatly enhanced tower capacity and efficiency. With all these advances, one would expect the failure rate in distillation towers to be on the decline. In fact, the opposite is the case: the tower failure rate is on the rise and accelerating. Distillation Troubleshooting collects invaluable hands-on experiences acquired in dealing with distillation and absorption malfunctions, making them readily accessible for those engaged in solving today's problems and avoiding tomorrow's. The first book of its kind on the distillation industry, the practical lessons it offers are a must for those seeking the elusive path to trouble-free distillation. Distillation Troubleshooting covers over 1,200 case histories of problems, diagnoses, solutions, and key lessons. Coverage includes: * Successful and unsuccessful struggles with plugging, fouling, and coking * Histories and prevention of tray, packing, and internals damage * Lessons taught by incidents and accidents during shutdowns, commissioning, and abnormal operation * Troubleshooting distillation simulations to match the real world * Making packing liquid distributors work * Plant bottlenecks from intermediate draws, chimney trays, and feed points * Histories of and key lessons from explosions and fires in distillation towers * Prevention of flaws that impair reboiler and condenser performance * Destabilization of tower control systems and how to correct it * Discoveries from shutdown inspections * Suppression of foam and accumulation incidents A unique resource for improving the foremost industrial separation process, Distillation Troubleshooting transforms decades of hands-on experiences into a handy reference for professionals and students involved in the operation, design, study, improvement, and management of large-scale distillation.

The Periodic Kingdom

A Journey Into the Land of the Chemical Elements
Author: Peter Atkins
Publisher: Hachette UK
ISBN: 1780227701
Category: Science
Page: 176
View: 3846

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A 'travel guide' to the periodic table, explaining the history, geography and the rules of behaviour in this imagined land. The Periodic Kingdom is a journey of imagination in which Peter Atkins treats the periodic table of elements - the 109 chemical elements in the world, from which everything is made - as a country, a periodic kingdom, each region of which corresponds to an element. Arranged much like a travel guide, the book introduces the reader to the general features of the table, the history of the elements, and the underlying arrangement of the table in terms of the structure and properties of atoms. Atkins sees elements as finely balanced living personalities, with quirks of character and certain, not always outward, dispositions, and the kingdom is thus a land of intellectual satisfaction and infinite delight.

A Planet of Viruses

Second Edition
Author: Carl Zimmer
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022629420X
Category: Medical
Page: 122
View: 7940

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Viruses are the smallest living things known to science, yet they hold the entire planet in their sway. They helped give rise to the first life-forms, are responsible for many of our most devastating diseases, and will continue to control our fate for centuries. Carl Zimmer, the popular science writer and New York Times columnist, takes us from the first record of the common cold to the latest frontiers of biology, where scientists are expanding our understanding of life as we know it. This revised edition includes stories of new outbreaks, such as Ebola, MERS, and chikungunya virus; new scientific discoveries, such as a hundred-million-year-old virus that infected the common ancestor of armadillos, elephants, and humans; and new findings that show why climate change may lead to even deadlier outbreaks. Zimmer's lucid explanations and intriguing stories demonstrate how deeply humans and viruses are intertwined. As reassuring as it is frightening, Planet of Viruses is a fascinating tour of a formidable hidden world. -- from back cover.

13 Things That Don't Make Sense

The Most Intriguing Scientific Mysteries of Our Time
Author: Michael Brooks
Publisher: Profile Books
ISBN: 186197647X
Category: Science
Page: 240
View: 3087

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Science starts to get interesting when things don't make sense.Even today there are experimental results that the most brilliant scientists can neither explain nor dismiss. In the past, similar anomalies have revolutionised our world: in the sixteenth century, a set of celestial irregularities led Copernicus to realise that the Earth goes around the sun and not the reverse. In 13 Things That Don't Make Sense Michael Brooks meets thirteen modern-day anomalies that may become tomorrow's breakthroughs. Is ninety six percent of the universe missing? If no study has ever been able to definitively show that the placebo effect works, why has it become a pillar of medical science? Was the 1977 signal from outer space a transmission from an alien civilization? Spanning fields from chemistry to cosmology, psychology to physics, Michael Brooks thrillingly captures the excitement and controversy of the scientific unknown.

Wonderful Life with the Elements

The Periodic Table Personified
Author: Bunpei Yorifuji
Publisher: No Starch Press
ISBN: 1593274238
Category: Comics & Graphic Novels
Page: 208
View: 2110

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From the brilliant mind of Japanese artist Bunpei Yorifuji comes Wonderful Life with the Elements, an illustrated guide to the periodic table that gives chemistry a friendly face. In this super periodic table, every element is a unique character whose properties are represented visually: heavy elements are fat, man-made elements are robots, and noble gases sport impressive afros. Every detail is significant, from the length of an element's beard to the clothes on its back. You'll also learn about each element's discovery, its common uses, and other vital stats like whether it floats—or explodes—in water. Why bother trudging through a traditional periodic table? In this periodic paradise, the elements are people too. And once you've met them, you'll never forget them.

The Secret Life of the Periodic Table


Author: Dr Ben Still
Publisher: Hachette UK
ISBN: 1844039102
Category: Science
Page: 192
View: 6737

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Every element has character, be it volatile, aloof, gregarious or enigmatic. They also have incredible stories of how they came to be, how they were discovered and how their qualities have been harnessed to make everything we have in the world. The Secret Life of the Periodic Table gives a fascinating insight into the discovery and use of all 118 elements. It uncovers incredible stories of how Mendeleev's table was formulated and the individual elements found, as well as explaining the fundamentals of atomic science and each element's place in the table and our universe.

A More Perfect Heaven

How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos
Author: Dava Sobel
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 0802778933
Category: History
Page: 288
View: 3482

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By 1514, the reclusive cleric Nicolaus Copernicus had written and hand-copied an initial outline of his heliocentric theory-in which he defied common sense and received wisdom to place the sun, not the earth, at the center of our universe, and set the earth spinning among the other planets. Over the next two decades, Copernicus expanded his theory through hundreds of observations, while compiling in secret a book-length manuscript that tantalized mathematicians and scientists throughout Europe. For fear of ridicule, he refused to publish. In 1539, a young German mathematician, Georg Joachim Rheticus, drawn by rumors of a revolution to rival the religious upheaval of Martin Luther's Reformation, traveled to Poland to seek out Copernicus. Two years later, the Protestant youth took leave of his aging Catholic mentor and arranged to have Copernicus's manuscript published, in 1543, as De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres)-the book that forever changed humankind's place in the universe. In her elegant, compelling style, Dava Sobel chronicles, as nobody has, the conflicting personalities and extraordinary discoveries that shaped the Copernican Revolution. At the heart of the book is her play And the Sun Stood Still, imagining Rheticus's struggle to convince Copernicus to let his manuscript see the light of day. As she achieved with her bestsellers Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, Sobel expands the bounds of narration, giving us an unforgettable portrait of scientific achievement, and of the ever-present tensions between science and faith.