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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Giveaway and Review- The Disappearing Spoon

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
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 parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. 

We learn that Marie Curie used to provoke jealousy in colleagues' wives when she'd invite them into closets to see her glow-in-the-dark experiments. And that Lewis and Clark swallowed mercury capsules across the country and their campsites are still detectable by the poison in the ground. Why did Gandhi hate iodine? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium? And why did tellurium lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history?
From the Big Bang to the end of time, it's all in THE DISAPPEARING SPOON.

My thoughts:
This book should be a required read in high school English classes to supplement what is being taught in Science classes. I found this book thoroughly enjoyable, despite having no real background in the periodic table, apart from learning a rhyming song to help me memorize it in grade 6. I learned more about history and the elements in this book than I have in my entire academic career. 

Sam Kean's presentation of factual information is done so in an engaging way. This book will be especially interesting for those of you who already enjoy chemistry, but it will also be captivating for people with little to no scientific background. With so many stories related to the periodic table of the elements, it is difficult to pick one as my favourite. Kean uses the relationship between elements in the table to discuss relationships between people who have history of using those elements. 

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
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (July 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316051640
ISBN-13: 978-0316051644
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 1.2 inches
Click here to find out where you can purchase this book!

Giveaway is open to US/Canada only! No P.O. Boxes, please.
2 copies are available to win
Giveaway ends August 15 at midnight PST
Winners will be chosen using

Mandatory Entry:
Leave a comment with the name of one of the elements - your favourite one or any other one!

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Thank you to the publisher of The Disappearing Spoon, Little Brown, part of the Hachette Book Group for providing me with a copy of this book for review. I heard about this opportunity from Anna in the Product Review Place group. All opinions expressed are my own.