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The Disappearing Spoon: True Tales of Madness, Love, and World History from the Periodic Table

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Published on May 16, 2012

Sam Kean, Author
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 Sam Kean's 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. In weaving this tale of the Periodic Table, Sam Kean fuses science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, discovery, and alchemy, from the Big Bang through the end of time.

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