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Publisher's Summary

An enchanting biography of the most resonant - and most necessary - chemical element on Earth. 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 as a luxury and half a trillion as a necessity, but there are still mysteries yet to be solved 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, earth scientist Robert Hazen leads us on a global journey through the origin and evolution of life's most ubiquitous element. The story unfolds in four movements - Earth, Air, Fire, and Water - and transports us through 14 billion years of cosmic history.

From the archives of Harvard to the cliffs of Scotland and into the precious metal mines of Namibia, Symphony in C is a sweeping chronicle of carbon: the most essential element on Earth.

©2019 Robert M. Hazen (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about Symphony in C

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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There is a Caveat

This is a fantastic book, Dr. Hazen presents a tremendous amount of knowledge in a very digestible manner. but it is an involved read. I don't know if I've ever read a non textbook book that presents its topic so well. While not a textbook it does delve into deep science stuff, definitely college level nerd stuff. If you get engrossed in the science, and have a special place in your heart for Carbon, this book is for you!

29 people found this helpful

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Excellent discourse on carbon

Robert Hazen is one of the big names in mineralogy and origin of life research. He’s also a highly respected musician (he played trumpet professionally all during his active career in science). Music and science are my two parallel careers as well, so I was very happy to see this book on Audible. Unfortunately, the very low key narration took some of the excitement out of what should have been a most enjoyable book. The only thing that saved it from being almost a monotone was the narrator’s excellent enunciation. Even so, his voice was so uninflected and soft at times that it was difficult to understand the words. And of course, the narration was sprinkled with all the typical mispronunciations that occur whenever a person untrained in the sciences tries to read even a lay scientific publication (no, ‘molybdenum’ is not pronounced ‘Molly-Be-denim’). Doesn’t anyone scan such books to find terms likely to be mispronounced?

I’m sure I will listen to this again, even with the shortcomings in the narration.

11 people found this helpful

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BORING. INDULGENT.

There are many fascinating books about science phenomena out there, both written and read with superb skill.
This NOT one of them.
The author is a scientist that thinks his indulgent use of adjectives makes him a good storyteller.
It doesn’t.
The narrator, I think, would achieve great success reading IKEA instruction manuals.

4 people found this helpful

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stipulations

It wasn't a read that captured you and had many stipulations instead of facts. Not an interesting book

1 person found this helpful

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amazing explanation

I'm a geology enthusiast, not a geologist. I love this audiobook. while bits and pieces of the chemistry were far over My intellectual head, most of the book made perfectly good sense. and who could imagine a book about carbon would be interesting? it's very interesting.

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A nice surprise

This book was a pleasant surprise. The first the focused on mineralogy, the remainder on the carbon cycle and research needing to be done to fill in the blanks. Technical, but highly readable, this book will appeal to a wide audience. Recommended.