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

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

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, betr Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium (Cd, 48)? How did ra...

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Title: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
Rating:
Genres:Science
ISBN:The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
ISBN
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:394 pages pages

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements Reviews

  • K
    May 16, 2011
    There's a certain type of goodreads troll -- the one who defends their beloved book by saying something like, "Well, if you knew the topic didn't interest you why were you stupid enough to pick up the book?" To that goodreads troll I now have an answer: this book. If you had told me...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    Jul 04, 2012
    "Never underestimate spite as a motivator for genius." I can't really speak to the scientific accuracy of this book, but I really enjoyed listening to the stories that come from the periodic table. I feel like I learned some things, which isn't that difficult of a feat since what I ...
  • Lisa Vegan
    May 30, 2010
    This is an absolutely brilliant idea for a book and it?s a superb book. It?s beautifully organized and well written. It?s a wonderful way to learn and/or deepen knowledge of chemistry. This book is fine for laypeople, but will give meaning and extra enjoyment even for advanced ch...
  • Brooke
    Dec 09, 2010
    This book was lots of fun, and it certainly taught me more than I ever learned in high school chemistry class. Quite honestly, if someone had asked me for a definition of "chemistry" before, I don't think I would have known what to say. At the same time, The Disappearing Spoon wasn't l...
  • Ginger K
    Feb 22, 2012
    So far, not so great. The degree of anthropomorphizing of atoms in the introductory chapters has left me completely puzzled about the actual science involved. I have no idea what it means that oxygen is "a bully." Does oxygen shake down other atoms for electrons? How does that even wor...
  • David
    Oct 03, 2010
    This book is quite an entertaining read. It is packed with interesting anecdotes about scientists who explored the outer fringes of the periodic table. I even learned a little bit of chemistry. The book is organized in an intelligent manner--each chapter is devoted to some theme, with ...
  • Nikki
    Jan 05, 2017
    The Disappearing Spoon is not quite as entertaining to me as Sam Kean?s book on neuroscience, but it?s still reasonably fun and definitely an easy read. There?s all kinds of random facts, and he makes things like electron shells very clear ? even for me, with my brain?s stubb...
  • Paul Bryant
    Jan 06, 2012
    My GR friend Jason writes sturdy and trustworthy reviews, but I must take exception with him here : The Disappearing Spoon is quick, light reading out in the sun. It handles complex theory in a comfortable, approachable way. Yes, it is all that, IF such stuff as this makes sense ...
  • Nathan
    Dec 11, 2011
    This book constipated my reading for almost a month. I have overdue fines from other books that were stacked up behind it. Not because I wasn't enjoying the book: it's readable, fascinating, and chock full of the very anecdotes about science and scientists that I love. So then, why the...
  • Andrew
    Feb 16, 2018
    Okay I will start by saying this is a fascinating book but you will need some understanding of the periodic table and chemistry - now I am not saying you need to be degree level but it will make some of the references a little easier to spot and the importance of some of the statements...
  • Sandi
    Aug 27, 2010
    I'm going to start out saying that Lisa wrote a great review of this book. As a book, this book is absolutely wonderful. It makes chemistry and physics comprehensible and fun. I listened to it in audio and thought the narrator did a fantastic job with it. He actually made the jokes...
  • Corinne Edwards
    Feb 18, 2011
    The subtitle of this book is: and Other True Tales of Madness, Love and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements. The Periodic Table! Chemistry! How could I possibly be completely enthralled by such a book? How could I dare give it five stars when I wasn't able ...
  • rmn
    Dec 25, 2010
    I should have liked this book more and I can't really explain why I didn't. It's not poorly written (though it ain't Solzhenitsyn) and it's not that uninteresting of a topic, but I just found that after the first 40ish pages, I dreaded having to read more. It was like pulling teeth, on...
  • Woodge
    Jun 13, 2011
    This book was an interesting compendium of stories linking up the various elements of the Periodic Table. Not only did I learn about the various scientists who discovered this or that element, but I learned a good deal about many of the elements themselves. It was entertaining enough t...
  • Bettie☯
    Oct 17, 2014
    Dissolving two noble medals before the nazis arrive Description: 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?...
  • Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
    Jun 18, 2013
    A fun read. For a further review: http://susannag.booklikes.com/post/43... . ...
  • Valerie
    Jan 14, 2011
    This does for the periodic table what I am always trying to do for math....link the science to the historical events, the people, and the economics that push scientific discoveries. I was fascinated by the many details about the hunt for elements, the private lives of the Curies, the r...
  • Emily
    Apr 27, 2017
    This book took me 76 days, or almost three months, to read. In this case, I needed all seventy-six individual days to work my brain through passages like this one: For instance, thirteen aluminium atoms grouped together in the right way do a killer bromine: the two entities are ind...
  • Jason
    Aug 10, 2010
    Stop the search. Recall the teams. I have found the non-fiction, summer read of 2010! The Disappearing Spoon. First, what?s a summer read, Mr. Josey Wales thumbnail photo? A summer read is one you can enjoy during a vacation to the beach, with fresh cocktails and clean towels prov...
  • DeAnna Knippling
    Apr 30, 2018
    Many tales from the trenches of chemistry and physics - including who was sleeping with who, who was screwing who over, and who totally slept through the most controversial parts of a new theory criticizing the one they came up with. An entertaining read about why the periodic table...
  • Kate
    Dec 03, 2010
    Okay. Let me tell it to you honestly. This book is not the most well written book - the sentences are clunky and there is not a clear narrative. It is much more of a rambling collection of stories and facts and quirky science knowledge. That said, I couldn't get back to reading t...
  • Ian Tregillis
    Oct 13, 2010
    This is a rare specimen among the books I tend to read: a two-bookmark book. I was skeptical when this first came to my attention. I grew up reading any and every science-related book I could find. My early fascination with books about science -- particularly chemistry and physics ...
  • Emanuela
    Oct 18, 2018
    Appena finito un saggio mi ripropongo di leggere un bel romanzone. Poi capitano questi libri che sono meglio di qualsiasi fiction, perch la tecnica asettica che ti insegnano non d merito a tutto quello che succede intorno alla ricerca scientifica, fatta dagli umani con tutti i lo...
  • Shelley
    Aug 24, 2011
    This book takes a monumental topic -- the periodic table -- and breaks it down into various digestible topic areas. While I enjoyed it (and learned a lot of history of science trivia I'd been unaware of, what with my head stuck in the 18th century) and had a few "a-ha" moments as some ...
  • Amanda
    Nov 07, 2016
    I'm going to have to stop saying that I don't like non fiction. This is the 3rd "science ish" book I have enjoyed recently. This was an interesting look at history as told thru the periodic table. I can't really speak to the accuracy of the science but I really enjoyed reading all the ...
  • Max
    Aug 15, 2016
    In a breezy style, Kean intersperses chemistry and physics with a potpourri of stories revolving around the elements. He explains how the elements formed and how they were discovered. He blends complex science and human interest in his examples of how the elements have been used and in...
  • Anny
    Aug 22, 2017
    A book filled with many interesting trivia. One of which is the alpha variability. So the story went that the alpha value must be an exact x or heavier elements won't be able to bond and create our wonderful universe. Now, there's a suggestion that that value was different in the past....
  • Mackey
    Oct 11, 2018
    This is on the banned book list - why!? Oh that's right. Certain parents think that science is too "real" for their precious babies. What a lot of baloney! The Disappearing Spoon is, quite literally, one of the most fascinating, informative, FUNNY, books about the Periodic Table th...
  • Alexander Landerman
    Apr 28, 2016
    Read this book. Read it twice. ...
  • flaminia
    Sep 02, 2017
    scritto cos chiaro e scorrevole che ho capito perfino io e nei quaranta minuti successivi alla fine della lettura mi sono sentita marie curie. ...