Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Disappearing Spoon

Author: Sam Kean
Stars: 2
Review by: Mandy Apgar

I am not quite sure why I wasn't more fond of this. There were moments when the book was excellent but overall it did not leave a very memorable impression on me. Divided into 5 parts by general subject (overall history and creation of elements, nuclear chemistry, complex chemistry, elements as they relate to human character, and element science today more or less) the organization is done well and I would assume that even if I had no background in the field his explanations of higher concepts would be sufficient enough. The author addresses questions such as: why was Godzilla attacked with Cadmium tipped missiles? Why was a little lithium OK every now and then? And, of course, the titular matter: why should you never use gallium for a spoon? To answer these questions would be cheating of course but still - although he wrote the book with joy and a decent sense of humor about the topic I am unsure as to why I did not like it more. Perhaps because it did not say as much as I had hoped - at about 350 pages with ample photographs and large type one doesn't have that much room for text and actual observations tended to be somewhat brief.

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