Sam Kean is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist's Thumb and the forthcoming book The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, and New Scientist and has been featured on NPR's Radiolab, All Things Considered, and Fresh Air.
Science magazine writer Kean's first book presents fascinating anecdotes about each of the known elements of the periodic table and the scientists who discovered them, e.g., how lithium helped cure poet Robert Lowell of his mental illness and how gallium became the prime element for chemical pranksters (it dissolves in ordinary tea-hence, the title). Kean's love for science, invention, investigation, and discovery shines in this flow of fun facts. Audie Award winner Sean Runnette's lucid, energetic narration is well suited to the author's wit, flair, and authority in this entertaining audio that nicely supplements Theodore Gray's massive The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe. Kean's welcome debut will inform general listeners and serve as a valuable reference for chemistry faculty. Highly recommended. [The Little, Brown hc was also "highly recommended," for anyone "wishing to be informed as well as entertained," LJ 5/1/10.-Ed.]-Dale Farris, Groves, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"The Disappearing Spoon shines a welcome light on the beauty of the periodic table. Follow plain speaking and humorous Sam Kean into its intricate geography and stray into astronomy, biology, and history, learn of neon rain and gas warfare, meet both ruthless and selfless scientists, and before it is over fall head over heels for the anything but arcane subject of chemistry."--Bill Streever, author of Cold "If you stared a little helplessly at the chart of the periodic table on the wall of your high school chemistry class, then this is the book for you. It elucidates both the meanings and the pleasures of those numbers and letters, and does so with style and dash."--Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet "Only once in a rare while does an author come along with the craft and the vision to capture the fun and fascination of chemistry. The Disappearing Spoon is a pleasure and full of insights. If only I had read it before taking chemistry."--Mark Kurlansky, author of Salt and Cod "Nearly 150 years of wide-ranging science...and Kean makes it all interesting. 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's palpable enthusiasm and the thrill of knowledge and invention the book imparts can infect even the most right-brained reader."--Christine Thomas, Miami Herald "[Kean turns] The Disappearing Spoon into a nonstop parade of lively science stories...ebullient."--Janet Maslin, New York Times "Kean's writing sparks like small shocks...he gives science a whiz-bang verve so that every page becomes one you cannot wait to turn just to see what he's going reveal next."--Caroline Leavitt, The Boston Globe "Kean...unpacks the periodic table's bag of tricks with such aplomb and fascination that material normally as heavy as lead transmutes into gold. A-"--Keith Staskiewicz, Entertainment Weekly