From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes 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? And why is gallium (Ga, 31) the go-to element for laboratory pranksters?* The Periodic Table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of adventure, betrayal, and obsession. These fascinating tales follow every element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, and in the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. THE DISAPPEARING SPOON masterfully fuses science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, and discovery--from the Big Bang through the end of time. *Though solid at room temperature, gallium is a moldable metal that melts at 84 degrees Fahrenheit. A classic science prank is to mold gallium spoons, serve them with tea, and watch guests recoil as their utensils disappear.
the disappearing spoon
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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, 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. Why did a little lithium (Li, 3) help cure poet Robert Lowell of his madness? And how did gallium (Ga, 31) become the go-to element for laboratory pranksters? The Disappearing Spoon has the answers, fusing science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, discovery and alchemy, from the big bang through to the end of time.
This unique book is about a special group of alloys (safe & non-toxic) that can be used to create numerous magical effects, from vanishing (or bending or penetrating) a spoon, to mentally melting coins in the hands of spectators - even card peeks and locations using gallium. All of the listed effects are constructed in the psychology and techniques of Max Malini (the greatest impromptu magician of all time), designed for thoughtful magicians, playful pranksters and curious minded individuals. Each novel application is presented in easy-to-understand details and do-it-yourself projects.
The Periodic Table is one of the most recognizable images in science - and in our culture. Its 118 elements make up everything on our planet and in the entire universe. But how many of us actually know how to interpret its distinctive design? And what does its unique arrangement tell us about the behaviour of each element in the world around us? The Periodic Table looks at the fascinating story and surprising history of each of these elements, from the little-known uses of gold in medicine to that of arsenic as a wallpaper dye in the ninteenth-century and the development of the hydrogen bomb. Packed with interesting facts and figures and helpful illustrations, this accessible guide will help the armchair chemist navigate through the different groups of elements - and discover the world afresh.
In 1913, English physicist Henry Moseley established an elegant method for "counting" the elements based on atomic number, ranging them from hydrogen (#1) to uranium (#92). It soon became clear, however, that seven elements were mysteriously missing from the lineup--seven elements unknown to science. In his well researched and engaging narrative, Eric Scerri presents the intriguing stories of these seven elements--protactinium, hafnium, rhenium, technetium, francium, astatine and promethium. The book follows the historical order of discovery, roughly spanning the two world wars, beginning with the isolation of protactinium in 1917 and ending with that of promethium in 1945. For each element, Scerri traces the research that preceded the discovery, the pivotal experiments, the personalities of the chemists involved, the chemical nature of the new element, and its applications in science and technology. We learn for instance that alloys of hafnium--whose name derives from the Latin name for Copenhagen (hafnia)--have some of the highest boiling points on record and are used for the nozzles in rocket thrusters such as the Apollo Lunar Modules. Scerri also tells the personal tales of researchers overcoming great obstacles. We see how Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn--the pair who later proposed the theory of atomic fission--were struggling to isolate element 91 when World War I intervened, Hahn was drafted into the German army's poison gas unit, and Meitner was forced to press on alone against daunting odds. The book concludes by examining how and where the twenty-five new elements have taken their places in the periodic table in the last half century. A Tale of Seven Elements paints a fascinating picture of chemical research--the wrong turns, missed opportunities, bitterly disputed claims, serendipitous findings, accusations of dishonesty--all leading finally to the thrill of discovery.
The Periodic Table of Elements hasn't always looked like it does now, a well-organized chart arranged by atomic number. In the mid-nineteenth century, chemists were of the belief that the elements should be sorted by atomic weight. However, the weights of many elements were calculated incorrectly, and over time it became clear that not only did the elements need rearranging, but that the periodic table contained many gaps and omissions: there were elements yet to be discovered, and the allure of finding one had scientists rushing to fill in the blanks. Supposed "discoveries" flooded laboratories, and the debate over what did and did not belong on the periodic table reached a fever pitch. With the discovery of radioactivity, the discourse only intensified. Throughout its formation, the Periodic Table of Elements has seen false entries, good-faith errors, retractions, and dead ends. In fact, there have been more falsely proclaimed elemental discoveries throughout history than there are elements on the table as we know it today. The Lost Elements: The Periodic Table's Shadow Side collects the most notable of these instances, stretching from the nineteenth century to the present. The book tells the story of how scientists have come to understand elements, by discussing the failed theories and false discoveries that shaped the path of scientific progress. We learn of early chemists' stubborn refusal to disregard alchemy as a legitimate practice, and of one German's supposed discovery of an elemental metal that breathed. As elements began to be created artificially in the twentieth century, we watch the discovery climate shift to favor the physicists, rather than the chemists. Along the way, Fontani, Costa, and Orna introduce us to the key figures in the development of today's periodic table, including Lavoisier and Mendeleev. Featuring a preface from Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann, The Lost Elements is an expansive history of the wrong side of chemical discovery-and reveals how these errors and gaffes have helped shape the table as much as any other form of scientific progress.
From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes the gripping, untold story of a renegade group of scientists and spies determined to keep Adolf Hitler from obtaining the ultimate prize: a nuclear bomb Scientists have always kept secrets. But rarely have the secrets been as vital as they were during World War II. In the middle of building an atomic bomb, the leaders of the Manhattan Project were alarmed to learn that Nazi Germany was far outpacing the Allies in nuclear weapons research. Hitler, with just a few pounds of uranium, would have the capability to reverse the entire D-Day operation and conquer Europe. So they assembled a rough and motley crew of geniuses - dubbed the Alsos Mission - and sent them careening into Axis territory to spy on, sabotage, and even assassinate members of Nazi Germany's feared Uranium Club. The details of the mission rival the finest spy thriller, but what makes this story sing is the incredible cast of characters-both heroes and rogues alike-including: Moe Berg the major league catcher who abandoned the game for a career as a multilingual international spy; the strangest fellow to ever play professional baseball. Werner Heisenberg the Nobel Prize-winning physicist credited as the discoverer of quantum mechanics; a key contributor to the Nazi's atomic bomb project and the primary target of the Alsos mission. Colonel Boris Pash a high school science teacher and veteran of the Russian Revolution who fled the Sovit Union with a deep disdain for Communists and who later led the Alsos mission. Joe Kennedy Jr. the charismatic, thrill-seeking older brother of JFK whose need for adventure led him to volunteer for the most dangerous missions the Navy had to offer. Samuel Goudsmit a washed-up physics prodigy who spent his life huntinh Nazi scientist-and his parents, who had been swept into a concentration camp-across the globe. Irène and Frederic Joliot-Curie a physics Nobel-Prize winning power couple who used their unassuming status as scientists to become active members of the resistance. Thrust into the dark world of international espionage, these scientists and soldiers played a vital and largely untold role in turning back one of the darkest tides in human history.
If the world as we know it ended tomorrow, how would you survive? A nuclear war, viral pandemic or asteroid strike. The world as we know it has ended. You and the other survivors must start again. What knowledge would you need to start rebuilding civilisation from scratch? How do you grow food, generate power, prepare medicines, or get metal out of rocks? Could you avert another Dark Ages, or take shortcuts to accelerate redevelopment? Living in the modern world, we have become disconnected from the basic processes and key fundamentals of science that sustain our lives. Ingenious and groundbreaking, The Knowledge explains everything you need to know about everything, revolutionising your understanding of the world. ‘A glorious compendium of the knowledge we have lost in the living...the most inspiring book I’ve read in a long time’ Independent ‘A terrifically engrossing history of science and technology’ Guardian http://the-knowledge.org/
Longing for the Bomb traces the unusual story of the first atomic city and the emergence of American nuclear culture. Tucked into the folds of Appalachia and kept off all commercial maps, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was created for the Manhattan Project by the U.S. government in the 1940s. Its workers labored at a breakneck pace, most aware only that their jobs were helping "the war effort." The city has experienced the entire lifespan of the Atomic Age, from the fevered wartime enrichment of the uranium that fueled Little Boy, through a brief period of atomic utopianism after World War II when it began to brand itself as "The Atomic City," to the anxieties of the Cold War, to the contradictory contemporary period of nuclear unease and atomic nostalgia. Oak Ridge's story deepens our understanding of the complex relationship between America and its bombs. Blending historiography and ethnography, Lindsey Freeman shows how a once-secret city is visibly caught in an uncertain present, no longer what it was historically yet still clinging to the hope of a nuclear future. It is a place where history, memory, and myth compete and conspire to tell the story of America's atomic past and to explain the nuclear present.
When Dan Wildman, one of River Heights’s hottest rock ’n’ roll DJs, is kidnapped, Nancy Drew is on the case!