In this fresh and engaging guide to chemistry, Dr. Kate Biberdorf, aka "Kate the Chemist," reveals the fascinating science we experience every day
Have you ever wondered what makes dough rise? Or how your morning coffee gives you that energy boost? Or why your shampoo is making your hair look greasy? The answer is chemistry. From the moment we wake up until the time we go to sleep (and even while we sleep), chemistry is at work—and it doesn't take a PhD in science to understand it.
Dr. Biberdorf has appeared on TV programs from the Today show to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, lighting the world on fire and changing the face of chemistry as we know it. In It's Elemental, she demystifies the fundamental principles of the science that may have eluded you in high school and shows how chemistry comes alive in everything we do. With wry wit and infectious enthusiasm, this entertaining guide will ignite your passion for science and change the way you experience the world.
Biberdorf (Kate the Chemist), a chemistry professor at the University of Texas, takes readers on a zippy tour of a typical day in her life, conclusively demonstrating that science is "so freaking awesome." She sets the stage with a synopsis of basic chemistry, offering an accessible look at the structure of atoms, the periodic table, states of matter, and chemical bonding. Then Biberdorf's day begins. First, there's breakfast, for which she explains what happens when trimethylxanthine (also known as caffeine) enters the body; in the bathroom, she describes the chemicals in lotions and makeup, as well as the cystine molecules in one's hair (which are changed by shampoo). At the beach, she lays out how her cooler keeps her beverages cool and the phenomenon of crepuscular rays, which happen when light reflects off dirt particles at sunset. Her day-in-the-life provides entertaining examples without getting too far into the weeds on any given concept, while personal anecdotes keep things fun: in college, for example, a roommate used liquid dish soap in place of dishwasher detergent (which are made of different types of molecules), necessitating the intervention of a repairman. Readers will come away with an appreciation of how crucial—and how cool—chemistry actually is.