Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: Sam Kean's "The Disappearing Spoon"


I kid you not, this book made me love science. And for an English/Humanities major who managed to never take a physics class, only kinda sorta understood what was going on biology and was completely lost in the wilderness when it came to chemistry- that's saying something.

So how did Sam Kean do it? How did he make The Disappearing Spoon and (his more recent work) The Violinist's Thumb books that I not only devoured, but also re-read and managed to sneak into my high school English lessons? He focused on the story. While the science is all there, and accurate and brilliant, it's the stories behind the science that make these books so captivating. Kean recounts fascinating anecdotes, and tales of love and betrayal, but also introduces moral questions to the reader regarding science, ethics and our relationships to these larger themes due to our very existence in the world. And he does it all in an entertaining, story-telling style that keeps the pages turning.

If you only ever read one book about science during your entire lifetime, I highly recommend that it be written by Sam Kean.

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