Author: Sam Kean
Title: The disappearing spoon : and other true tales of madness, love, and the history of the world from the periodic table of the elements
Narrator: Sean Runnette
Publication Info: Tantor Media, 2010
This book is a history of science based on the periodic table. Kean goes through the elements discussing their discovery, the stories of the scientists who discovered them, and the element’s place in human society. A lot of the book is anecdotes about chemists, but they’re good stories. There are also a lot of interesting connections, both among the elements and the people who work for them. A nice, easy-to-read popular science and history work that enlivens the periodic table for even the most curmudgeonly humanities major.
Recommended books: 13 things that don’t make sense by Michael Brooks, Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science–From the Babylonians to the Maya by Dick Teresi, and Connections by James Burke.