Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On My Nightstand: The Disappearing Spoon

I've long been a science (and sci-fi) buff, so when I saw the book entitled The Disappearing Spoon, it was natural that I pick it up.

I wasn't disappointed. It's a great primer on the weird and wacky stories of how the periodic table of elements was put together, elements were discovered, and the personalities that came to influence both chemistry and physics.

The title refers to an old chemistry parlor trick, where chemists would confound friends by serving tea and providing spoons out of gallium, (element 31) which melts at at 85.5763°F. His guests would recoil as the spoon literally dissolves in the Earl Gray tea.

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