Tells of the lives and revolutionary work of Curie and her husband Pierre, whose work with radiation had an enormous impact on modern physics, and whose legacy was carried on by their daughter and son-in-law
What links the Taj Mahal and our skeleton? Calcium. The Eiffel Tower and our blood? Iron. Everything in the known universe is made up of one of the elements.
Popular-science writer Jack Challoner takes us on an illustrated tour of the Periodic Table, revealing the mystery of how the material world works. This definitive guide covers all 118 elements, with their vital statistics, main compounds, uses, and fascinating histories.
Long before Oliver Sacks became a distinguished neurologist and bestselling writer, he was a small English boy fascinated by metals-also by chemical reactions (the louder and smellier the better), photography, squids and cuttlefish, H.G. Wells, and the periodic table. In this endlessly charming and eloquent memoir, the author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings chronicles his love affair with science and the magnificently odd and sometimes harrowing childhood in which that love affair unfolded.In Uncle Tungsten we meet Sacks' extraordinary family, from his surgeon mother (who introduces the fourteen-year-old Oliver to the art of human dissection) and his father, a family doctor who imbues in his son an early enthusiasm for housecalls, to his "Uncle Tungsten," whose factory produces tungsten-filament lightbulbs. We follow the young Oliver as he is exiled at the age of six to a grim, sadistic boarding school to escape the London Blitz, and later watch as he sets about passionately reliving the exploits of his chemical heroes-in his own home laboratory. Uncle Tungsten is a crystalline view of a brilliant young mind springing to life, a story of growing up which is by turns elegiac, comic, and wistful, full of the electrifying joy of discovery.
Carbon. It's in the fibers in your hair, the timbers in your walls, the food that you eat, and the air that you breathe. It's worth billions of dollars as a luxury and half a trillion as a necessity, but there are still mysteries about the element that can be both diamond and coal. Where does it come from, what does it do, and why, above all, does life need it? With poetic storytelling, Robert M. Hazen leads us on a global journey through the origin and evolution of life's most essential and ubiquitous element.
In The Ingredients, Philip Ball blends history and science as he offers an illuminating look at our centuries-long struggle to understand the nature of the physical world.
It's been a long journey from the ancient belief in four elements--earth, water, fire, air--to the hundred plus elements that occupy the modern periodic table, and Ball makes a perfect tour guide, highlighting the many points of interest on the way. He introduces us to key scientists such as Lavoisier, who named oxygen, proved that water is not an element, demolished the ancient 4-elements theory, and lost his head to the guillotine. Ball highlights the unexpected opportunities for making useful things from the riches found on the periodic table. We learn, for instance, that the seemingly useless argon (after the Greek argos, 'lazy'--because it did nothing) makes perfect filler for light bulbs, because no matter how hot the bulb gets, argon won't react. Likewise, silicon, a very poor conductor of electricity (hence the label semiconductor) is perfect for computer chips, because the slow movement of electrons is easier to manipulate. Ball shows us how to read the periodic table and he recounts Mendeleyev's tale of discovering the correct form to the table "in a dream." He also explains the difficulties of defining and identifying the elements, the principles behind the formation of synthetic elements, and the ways in which particular elements (gold, iron, oxygen) shaped culture and technology.
From the alchemical quest for the Philosopher's Stone to the legend of the Midas touch, The Ingredients provides an engaging look at the elements that make up the world we live in.
This books now collects Gray's Popular Science columns, along with hundreds of photographs -- many of which are never-before-seen. The second volume includes mad-scientist experiments, which features dramatic, enlightening, and often daring projects, such as demonstrating the Leidenfrost effect; crushing a tomato between two small magnets to show the power of neodymium-iron-boron magnets; and creating trinkets out of solid mercury to demonstrate how the state of matter depends very much on the temperature at which it exists. Other experiments include:
- A foil boat floating on an invisible sea
- DIY X-ray photos
- A bacon lance that cuts steel
- Charging a smart phone with apples and pennies
- And dozens more