The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Rivalry, Adventure, and the History of The World From the Periodic Table of Elements
by Sam Kean
New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2010. 391 pages. Nonfiction.
The periodic table is one of our crowning scientific achievements, but it's also a treasure trove of passion, adventure, betrayal and obsession. The fascinating tales in The Disappearing Spoon follow carbon, neon, silicon, gold and every single element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.
Before I read this book I hated chemistry. Now, after having read this book, I find that I still hate chemistry. However, I greatly enjoyed learning the history of the periodic table of elements and the interesting stories of the men and women who discovered them. Sam Kean spins together a history of science class that is kind to those who don't consider themselves to be "math & science people" (me *cough, cough*). I doubt I'll remember everything I learned, but I will remember the many laughs I had while reading this book. I recommend this book to science-geeks and non-science-geeks alike, and to anyone who wants to get a good laugh and feel a bit smarter at the end of a good read.