As you probably recall, I am a light science dabbler, someone who wishes she knew a lot more and had had the chance to study her favourite scientific subjects. My main love is astronomy and astrophysics, but I’m fascinated by things at the other end of the spectrum too, in the atomic realm.
As a result, I am postively avid to get this book: The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements, by Sam Kean, writer for Science magazine.
Kean himself describes the contents of the book by referring to the “money, petty politics, quackery, sex, war, and, yes, science” connected to the Periodic Table. Who knew? Doesn’t that intrigue you?
But what drew my attention to the existence of the book is the fact that for a few weeks this summer, Mr. Kean is Blogging the Period Table for Slate. He’s already written about mercury (his own “gateway element” for getting into the Table), hydrogen, antimony, selenium (was it was Custer was defeated at Little Big Horn??), and several others. He’ll be doing eighteen in all. And he assures us that these aren’t just a rehash or reprint of what’s in the book. So this is bonus material!
In the meantime, you can have a look at the Table of Contents and read an excerpt from the actual book at the Sam Kean website. I’m going to be catching up on the blog posts already done, and following those still to come. And I really, really want to get the book!