Try not to fall off of your couch when I suggest that a book that features “other true tales of madness, love, and the history of the world from the periodic table of elements” was very interesting. Now that you are up I am telling you that author Sam Kean does just that. We have all learned about the periodic table, but probably never heard much detail about the scientists that spent years and careers trying to figure it out. My vision of these men and women was of a serious-minded professionals at the forefront of their field, trailblazers. While that was often the case there was a considerable amount of back-stabbing and pettiness during the race to “discover” new elements,
“anger followed shock. Its pride wounded, the Berkeley team checked the Soviet results and, not surprisingly, dismissed them as premature and sketchy. Meanwhile, Berkeley set out to create element 104 itself”
Many interesting facts will perhaps boost your ability while playing Trivial Pursuit. Being from the hometown of the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) I found it interesting that at one time aluminum was more precious than gold. Napoleon saved used his gold utensils for common guests and only broke out the aluminum stuff for the important visitors. In fact the United States topped the Washington Monument with and aluminum pyramid to display our wealth. The monument is still topped with aluminum today even though refinements in the industry have made the metal very common. The next time I entertain I plan on wrapping my paper plates with aluminum foil.
The Disappearing Spoon is certainly written more for the layperson and you’ll have to read it yourself to find out the mystery of the disappearing spoon. I couldn’t help but end with a behind-the-scene look at scientists by Gary Larson.