Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Will Staehle: The Disappearing Spoon

Holy Mother of God! Printed on uncoated paper. The book's core is the periodic table and the history of its elements and the scientists who discovered them. The title refers to gallium (Ga, 31), which melts at 84°F, prompting a practical joke among "chemical cognoscenti": shape gallium into spoons, "serve them with tea, and watch as your guests recoil when their Earl Grey ‘eats’ their utensils." We also learn that "Marie Curie used to provoke jealousy in colleagues' wives when she'd invite them into closets to see her glow-in-the-dark experiments." And that "Lewis and Clark swallowed mercury capsules across the country and their campsites are still detectable by the poison in the ground." (from the product description and PW)