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Crucibles: Story of Chemistry from Ancient Alchemy to Nuclear Fission Paperback – 1 Apr 1977


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Amazon.com: 7 reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Good information - difficult style 13 July 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read and reread this book several times and use it in teaching honors and AP Chemistry on the high school level, and have required my students to read it to bolster their knowledge of the history of chemistry. It is an excellent book, but the writing style is somewhat difficult for high school students, even the higher performing ones. Because of this, I have added some more recent books written in a more engaging style for my students to choose from. I would still recommend this book to those interested in the history of chemistry, but I would also recommend others as well, including PROMETHEANS IN THE LAB by McGrayne and UNCLE TUNGSTEN by Sacks.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
still a great introduction to chemistry 8 Oct. 2005
By Kaleberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not everyone likes to jump into a field with a basic textbook. Crucibles tells the story of modern chemistry and atomic theory in the form of a series of biographical vignettes with an emphasis on chemistry. It starts with the ancients and covers a lot of ground. I found it rather fascinating as a kid, but I still think it's pretty good as an introduction.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
One of the finest books on the history of science 20 Nov. 2006
By Lakeviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is one of the finest books on the history of science I have ever read. Each scientist appears larger than life - even their warts and flaws are the size of mountains. This is the history of chemistry told on the large screen, technicolor, and surround sound, as heroic as any military or political history. I'll be re-reading this book 20 years from now.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
It has some good moments 30 May 2008
By Scott Bergeson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is full of biographical sketches of several people who made significant contributions to the development of chemistry. It has some good moments and it helped me appreciate the development of big chemical ideas, especially the rapid developments in the 1900's as newer experimental techniques were developed. The book can be a little wordy is spots, but if you aren't afraid to skim those parts it is still a good read.

The book, originally written in 1930, was updated by the author in 1976 for this Dover edition. The last two chapters discuss nuclear chemistry/physics. The last chapter seems a little out of place in the book since it focuses more on issues and less on people and the development of the discipline. Because the nucleus chapter was written before the Standard Model of Fundamental Interactions was firmly established, the discussion could be updated a bit. An interested reader can find more information online at [...]. But I can't fault the book on this because the story of science is (hopefully) never over.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
hard to tell how much it's fictionalized 22 Feb. 2013
By eve - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's interesting material in this book, and the focus on personalities makes it a bit easier to remember who's who. Unfortunately, the writing style is affected (I generally have a high tolerance for old-fashioned writing, but it bothers me here) and it's hard to tell how much is historical fact and how much is embroidery. Also, the person-centric organization works much better for the early material, and becomes fairly unwieldy by the middle. It has the semi-inevitable focus on element discovery/synthesis of many histories of chemistry (transmutation of base metals to gold-no, elements are immutable-no, nuclear fission and fusion!) and relatively little discussion of other 20th century advances. Especially in the middle and end, it's light on the chemical/experimental details.
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