The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of Elements
by Sam Kean
(Little, Brown, and Co., 2010, 391 pages)
“Between hydrogen at the top left and the man-made impossibilities lurking along the bottom, you can find bubbles, bombs, money, alchemy, petty politics, history, poison, crime and love. Even some science.”
Here you have it. From the introduction, author Sam Kean sums up his book in one sentence. He does an excellent job in presenting the periodic table of elements along with telling fascinating stories of people and scientists and scientific discoveries. This book is accessible, informative and humorous. Sometimes I felt like I was listening to gossip and being entertained. Ok, so it’s history of science gossip. . . It’s like listening to a friend telling stories about chemistry and physics, and this friend would be wearing a periodic table t-shirt or scarf ;).
Did you know copper’s career in public health began in 1976 when a plague broke out in Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia? Or that element 137, Untriseptium, is a hypothetical chemical element which is also called feynmanium. Why? Which famous scientist is behind it? You’ll also find out why Plato adored geometry. There’s all kinds of fun information in The Disappearing Spoon. If you are a fan of science and history, read this book!