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Paperback Creations of Fire: Chemistry's Lively History from Alchemy to the Atomic Age Book

ISBN: 0306450879

ISBN13: 9780306450877

Creations of Fire: Chemistry's Lively History from Alchemy to the Atomic Age

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Book Overview

he history of chemistry is a story of human endeavor-and as er- T ratic as human nature itself. Progress has been made in fits and starts, and it has come from all parts of the globe. Because the scope of this history is considerable (some 100,000 years), it is necessary to impose some order, and we have organized the text around three dis- cemible-albeit gross--divisions of time: Part 1 (Chaps. 1-7) covers 100,000 BeE (Before Common Era) to the late...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The Best History of Chemistry in Print!

I have always liked the science of chemistry. It was, in fact, a hobby of mine when I was in my teens, but I eventually chose to go into biology. I still had to minor in chemistry and physics, and while I struggled in physics, chemistry was my cup of tea! One of the reasons for this was my fascination with the history of the science and I was much influenced by "Crucibles" by Bernard Jaffe. This was (and still is) a very interesting and informative book, but I think now much improved upon by "Creations of Fire: Chemistry's Lively History from Alchemy to the Atomic Age" by Cathy Cobb and Harold Goldwhite. In this current volume the authors include a number of researchers only mentioned in passing or not at all by Jaffe. In addition they have placed chemical advances in the perspective of the time in which they occurred. This is science history as it should be written! I always think that the history of any subject, be it science, literature, art or religion, better informs the student than presenting only the current thinking in the given field. I know that I understand the structure of modern chemistry better when I also understand the steps that led to it. I highly recommend this excellent history of chemical thought to student and professional alike, as well as anyone who wants to understand how scientists got Avogadro's law, atomic theory, or discovered the elements and the periodic table. Hint: they all took a lot of work and determination and were understood only after a lot of blind alleys and conflict. Nothing was self evident or handed down on a platter!

excellent read

Excellent read. Wonderful bits of history and science made fun and accessible wrapped up in one great storytelling package. Highly recommend this book.

key tale told well

If you have to own one chemistry book, this should be the one. It explains the concepts, frames the drama, and avoids the nomenclature and exasperating detail. Chemistry forms the basis of the material world, and the future of many technologies, ranging from medicine and electronics to materials and environmental science. The approach to chemistry, over the millennia, has defined scientific method and ultimately, philosophy of science. From this book, one can grasp the dramatic outline, with all explanations easily digested, and the dramatic highpoints presented with just the right flourish. These two writers do not come from Oxford but rather a state school in California, and they tell the tale with a simplicity and directness that most anybody can appreciate.

Entertaining, informative, opinionated

Excellent choice for high school or college students trying to get an overview of the field. The author knows her stuff and can present it in fascinating detail. Very readable.

Better than a detective novel

Unputdownable. The story of hundreds of scientists and enthusiasts who wanted to understand matter and gradually decoded its secrets. Generally accessible to the lay-reader (I got a little lost when we reached proteins, enzymes and so forth), its full of little quirky details from the lives of the protagonists, making them human and interesting.
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