Publisher description for Molecules at an exhibition : portraits of intriguing materials in everyday life / John Emsley.


Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog


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What ingredient in Coke can remove rust from chrome (it is also in all anti-rust paints)? What is the bitterest substance on earth? What is the worst smelling one?
In this entertaining and informative tour of chemistry, John Emsley answers these and many other curious questions as he illuminates the materials that make up our world. Here are dozens of lively articles that explore such well-known molecules as water, oxygen, glass, and iron, such highly
versatile plastics as polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyurethane, even such "elements from hell" as Sarin (extremely lethal nerve gas) or thallium sulphate (a poison used by Iraqi security forces to eliminate the opposition). With no chemical formulas, equations, or molecular diagrams to baffle
the non-expert, each piece blends history (who discovered it and how), science, and anecdote, with many intriguing facts added to the mix. Readers discover that an ingredient in chocolate--PEA, which is similar in size and shape to the illegal drug Ecstasy--may trigger the release of dopamine in the
brain; that the worst smell in the world comes from methyl mercaptan; that a bee in the Amazon actually collects DDT (it uses it as a sex attractant!); and that the Apollo program did not lead to the discovery of Teflon (Teflon was discovered in 1938, and the non-stick frying pan was designed in the
1950s).
"The world of chemistry has never been made as entertaining," writes Nobel Prize-winning chemist Roald Hoffmann. Indeed, this book will fascinate everyone curious about the chemicals in the foods we eat, the clothes we wear, and the air we breathe.


Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Biochemistry -- Popular works.
Nutrition -- Popular works.
Environmental chemistry -- Popular works.
Toxicology -- Popular works.
Chemistry, Technical -- Popular works.