The Disappearing Spoon

The Disappearing Spoon

And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World From the Periodic Table of the Elements

Downloadable Audiobook - 2010
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Explores intriguing tales about every element of the periodic table, sharing their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, evil, love, the arts, and the lives of the colorful scientists who discovered them.
Publisher: [Old Saybrook, Conn.] : Tantor Media, [2010]
Edition: Unabridged.
Copyright Date: ℗2010
ISBN: 9781400119523
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 audio file) : digital.

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Dec 09, 2018

Really well written for such a dry subject. Learned lots about the depth to the Periodic Table of Elements. Many things were good science history review and many others were new tidbits. Would recommend if you like science!

Nov 17, 2018

A fascinating tour through the elements - the history of their discovery, the discovery of their properties, and their uses and dangers. Numerous anecdotes and other 'insider' aspects of science and its growth and development, and its relations to other sciences (cosmology, medicine, warfare, biology, psychology, and more) are related to the listener. If I had listened to a work like this when a teenager I may have studied chemistry instead. The entire periodic table is explored and explained, and there is even some reported speculations about the possibility of even more - even up to a thousand; others ways of visually representing the elements is also briefly discussed.
The voice of the narrator is okay: clear, but flat and monotone.

Oct 14, 2018

My daughter and I listened to this when she was in high school a couple of years ago. Now she is in a college chemistry class, and she texted me that she is so grateful we listened to this book. The stories in it are helping her study and remember what different elements' properties are.

JCLChrisK Jun 13, 2016

A highly readable and entertaining collection of stories about the chemical elements--more specifically, about the people who have contributed to the development of the periodic table of elements. There is plenty of science as a necessary ingredient to the telling of the tales, but this is not an academic text meant to teach chemistry so much as a celebration of scientific discovery and a storybook. It delights in curiosities and enlightenments, interesting personalities and their explorations. It includes history, politics, etymology, alchemy, mythology, literature, forensics, psychology, astronomy, and much, much more. It wanders a bit and I struggled to understand Kean's organizational logic since it isn't meant to tell a single, coherent story, but that's only a slight matter since the book's joy is meant to be found in each of the individual anecdotes anyway. A perfect read for summer.

Feb 23, 2016

I am not a chemist and found this book interesting. There is a lot of factoids and some science in it, that I don't claim to remember all that was discussed in the book. But this book really does make you appreciate all the background stories on discovering each elements. It is understandable for a non-chemist like me. If I taught chemistry in high school, I would have the students read a chapter from this book on a relevant elements.

JCLHopeH Sep 22, 2014

Confession: I zoned out quite a bit while listening to this book. (Perhaps the print/eBook would have been a better format.) Great in concept, I just don't think I was the right audience. A mix of science, history, and anecdotes that added a fun, human perspective to the history of the periodic table. I was drawn to the human stories but often the discussion was just a bit too technical for my tastes. However, I still learned some interesting trivia and am glad I persevered to the end.

May 15, 2013

Terrific book about science and history. Very enjoyable.

Nov 07, 2011

Accidentally ordered the audiobook copy instead of the book one. It's quite interesting but I think that, for me anyway, the material is better suited to a traditional paper version, so I can flip back to doublecheck some of the info or if I can't follow the facts in my head. Don't have much education in chemistry, so it's probably more me than the book itself, and the stories are very interesting even when I got lost. Going to request the paper version and try again.

Apr 08, 2011

An interesting look at history through the periodic table of elements....


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