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Short Synopsis
The infectious tales and astounding details in The Disappearing Spoon follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the frequently mad scientists who discovered them.

Full Synopsis
The periodic table is one of man's crowning scientific achievements. But it's also a treasure trove of stories of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. The infectious tales and astounding details in The Disappearing Spoon follow carbon, neon, silicon, and gold as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, the arts, poison, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.

We 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. Why did Gandhi hate iodine? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium? And why did tellurium lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history?

From the Big Bang to the end of time, it's all in The Disappearing Spoon.

"Runnette's lucid, energetic narration is well suited to the author's wit, flair, and authority in this entertaining audio.... Highly recommended." ---Library Journal Starred Audio Review

"Kean succeeds in giving us the cold hard facts, both human and chemical, behind the astounding phenomena without sacrificing any of the wonder---a trait vital to any science writer worth his NaCl. A–" ---Entertainment Weekly

"Kean's ability to ferret out the lighter side of events makes for an addictive and educational experience. Narrator Sean Runnette proves himself to be the perfect surrogate for the author.... His connected reading shows that he understands the subtle humor, irony, and impact of such a clever history." ---AudioFile

"Entertaining and enlightening." ---Kirkus

"With a constant flow of fun facts bubbling to the surface, Kean writes with wit, flair, and authority in a debut that will delight even general readers." ---Publishers Weekly

"Kean writes in a whimsical yet easy-to-read style.... Highly recommended." ---Library Journal

"Whether explaining why Silicon Valley is not Germanium Valley or reveling in naming-rights battles over a new element, Kean holds interest throughout his entertaining debut." ---Booklist

"This is nonfiction to make you sound smart over gin and tonics: the human history behind the periodic table." ---Time.com

"The Disappearing Spoon is a pleasure and full of insights. If only I had read it before taking chemistry." ---Mark Kurlansky, author of The Eastern Stars
Library Journal Audio

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The Disappearing Spoon

And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

Author Sam Kean

Narrated by Sean Runnette

Publication date Aug 24, 2010

Running time 13 hrs

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