The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

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Inevitably, some of what Kean discusses will be out of reach for the lay reader. What he does have is an abundance are odd facts and anecdotes related to the periodic table. He uses these to turn his book into a parade of lively science stories.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

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.
 

About Sam Kean

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Sam Kean is a writer in Washington, D.C. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, The Believer, Air & Space, Science, and The New Scientist. He is currently working as a reporter at Science magazine and as a 2009 Middlebury Environmental Journalism fellow.
 
Published June 24, 2010 by Little, Brown and Company. 372 pages
Genres: History, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jul 14 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Sep 10 2010

Inevitably, some of what Kean discusses will be out of reach for the lay reader. What he does have is an abundance are odd facts and anecdotes related to the periodic table. He uses these to turn his book into a parade of lively science stories.

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