The bestselling popular science author reveals “the connections between what we teach in chemistry courses and the world in which . . . [we] live” (ChemEd X).
Interesting anecdotes and engaging tales make science fun, meaningful, and accessible. Separating sense from nonsense and fact from fiction, these essays cover everything from the ups of helium to the downs of drain cleaners, and provide answers to numerous mysteries, such as why bug juice is used to color ice cream and how spies used secret inks. Mercury in teeth, arsenic in water, lead in the environment, and aspartame in food are also discussed. Mythbusters include the fact that Edison did not invent the light bulb and that walking on hot coals does not require paranormal powers. The secret life of bagels is revealed, and airbags, beer, and soap yield their mysteries. These and many more surprising, educational, and entertaining commentaries show the relevance of science to everyday life.
“A delightful and informative read. Dr. Schwarcz tells it like it is, whether the subject is light at heart or as weighty as death.” —The Cosmic Chemist
“Fascinating [this book] is, thanks to the author’s lively style and contagious enthusiasm for chemistry, and his ability to make it accessible . . . connects the dots between such unlikely events as the madness of King George III and the royal fondness for sauerkraut; and between gluten, the molecular make-up of trans-fatty acids, and how the cookie crumbles.” —Montreal Review of Books