The Periodic Table is one of man's crowning scientific achievements. But it's also a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The infectious tales and astounding details in THE DISAPPEARING SPOON follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their... read more
“God does not play dice with the universe.”Albert Einstein
“Einstein! Stop telling God what to do.”Neils Bohr
“We eat and breathe the periodic table; people bet and lose huge sums on it; philosophers use it to probe the meaning of science; it poisons people; it spawns wars. 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.”
Part I: Orientation: Column by Column, Row by Row
1. Geography is Destiny
2. Near Twins and Black Sheep: The Genealogy of Elements
3. The Galapagos of the Periodic Table
Part II: Making Atoms, Breaking Atoms
4. Where Atoms Come From: "We Are All Star Stuff"
5. Elements in Times of War
6. Completing the Table . . .with a Bang
7. Extending the Table, Expanding the Cold War
Part III: Periodic Confusion: The Emergence of Complexity
8. From Physics to Biology
9. Poisoner's Corridor: "Ouch-Ouch"
10. Take Two Elements, Call Me in the Morning
11. How Elements Deceive
Part IV: The Elements of Human Character
12. Political Elements
13. Elements in Money
14. Artistic Elements
15. An Element of Madness
Part V: Element Science Today and Tomorrow
16. Chemistry Way, Way Below Zero
17. Spheres of Splendor: The Science of Bubbles
18. Tools of Ridiculous Precision
19. Above (and Beyond) the Periodic Table
If your high schooler is interested in science, this is an excellent history of discovery of elements and their properties. The title, The Disappearing Spoon, refers to teaspoons cast out of gallium, a metal which has a melting point slightly above room temperature. When tea drinkers stirred their tea with a gallium spoon, it would melt into their cuppa. Funny? Maybe, but heavy metals are poisonous to the human body.
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