I understand the chemistry that makes the periodic table the periodic table. What I expected was some stories about the elemental discoveries or interesting uses of the elements. I wanted more casual conversation starter topics, instead I got a basic chemistry lesson on the outer electron shell. Makes a very boring listen, like a chemistry lecture. There are some great interesting stories layered in but they are far and few in-between to really keep my interest.
What a great romp through the history of the discovery and application of the elemental table. Rather than teaching science and chemistry, this book tells the stories surrounding the scientists, their lives and discoveries of the elements, and other elemental-associated occurrences. If you're afraid of taking a chemistry class for fear that you won't understand the information, this is a book that opens up the history of chemistry in a way that can help you overcome your fears and potentially even enjoy taking a chemistry class. If you're a science professional, such as a teacher, this book can provide you with entertaining, informative, and humorous stories to make chemistry a much more interesting and approachable subject. And if you're simply generally interested in science (like me), this book is highly entertaining and educational. Note: After listening to this book, I purchased some gallium (the "disappearing spoon" element) as a Christmas present for a family member, and we had fantastic fun playing with it.
Chemistry's Spellbinding History.
The author has done a bang-up job in writing the history of the periodic table (the elements therein), so much so that I find myself listening to the chapters repeatedly. Historical scientists and startling finds are covered throughout the book. This is a very intriguing, engaging, and informative book of science through and through.
I found this book to be fascinating. As I listened I frequently bothered my boyfriend with tidbits starting "did you know..." As a teacher I thought this book could make for an interesting inter-disciplinary assignment as it connects history, chemistry, biology and more. For a curious mind, this is a winner.
Well worth the read. Instead of being a chemistry/physics heavy book, it ties in the history, controversy, personal stores and interesting facts about the elements and the design of the periodic table. For example did you know, aluminum used to be consider the rarest of the fine metals (before we figured out how to refine it) and as such a 100oz. pyramid of it sits atop the Washington Monument, or that Napoleon is reputed to have given a banquet where the most honored guests were given aluminum utensils, while the others made do with gold? This book is filled with a plethora of interesting factoids, history and even a little science.
Well narrated, well written, can't stop listening to it! The weaving of all of the stories will keep you wanting more.
Very Interesting, enlightening
This book is exactly what you think it’s about. The Periodic Table.
Dad, Dentist, Adventurer. Well... at least 2 of those.
Wonderful anecdotes about the discovery of each element. This book got me really interested in the history of science.
Very entertaining book about the periodic table of elements. I loved the way Kean connected so many fields here, from astrophysics to biology to the heroic age of Antarctic exploration, through events and people involved in the structuring of the table and the discovery and use of the various elements themselves. Great narration too.
One note: in all that I have read about Robert Falcon Scott's last Antarctic expedition, I have never heard it said that Titus Oates (unnamed in this book) "went insane and wandered off." That's a very misleading (and, from everything I've read, incorrect) discription of what actually happened, and even though it's just sort of a throw-away statement in the story Kean was telling here, it made me wonder what else he sort of...tweaked...to make things sound more dramatic. I might be totally nitpicky here, but...it just introduced a little doubt. Still, I very much enjoyed the book as a whole.
This is a brilliant blend of science, history, fun trivia and human interest stories. Much of what is in this book was unexpeted and a wonderful surprise -- like wandering around a museum and stumbling upon one riverting piece of art work after another.
I look forward to reading Mr. Kean's next book. No matter what the subject, I expect it to be fascinating.