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Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium (Cd, 48)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie’s reputation? And why did tellurium (Te, 52) lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history? The periodic table is one of our crowning scientific achievements, but it’s also a treasure trove of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The fascinating tales in Sam Kean’s The Disappearing Spoon follow carbon, neon, silicon, gold, and every single element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. In weaving this tale of the Periodic Table, Sam Kean fuses science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, discovery, and alchemy, from the Big Bang through the end of time.
Copies of Sam Kean’s book, The Disappearing Spoon: and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements, will be available for review and purchase after the lecture.
Anyone outside NIST wishing to attend must be sponsored by a NIST employee and receive a visitor badge.
For more information, contact Stephanie Shaw at 301-975-2667.
Colloquia are videotaped and available in the NIST Research Library.
Sam Kean, Author
Start Date: Friday, December 16, 2011
End Date: Friday, December 16, 2011
Location: 10:30 a.m., Green Auditorium, Gaithersburg, VTC to Boulder, Room 1107