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Elegant Solutions: Ten Beautiful Experiments in Chemistry [Hardcover]

Philip Ball
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 19.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Aug 2005 0854046747 978-0854046744
Devising and performing a scientific experiment is an art, and it is common to hear scientists talk about the 'beauty' of an experiment. What does this mean in chemistry, the experimental science par excellence? And what are the most beautiful chemical experiments of all time? This book offers ten suggestions for where beauty might reside in experimental chemistry. In some cases the beauty lies in the clarity of conception; sometimes it is a feature of the instrumental design. But for chemistry, there can also be a unique beauty in the way atoms are put together to make new molecules, substances not known in nature. The ten experiments described here offer a window into the way that chemists think and work, and how what they do affects the rest of science and the wider world. This book aims to stimulate the reader to think anew about some of the relationships and differences between science and art, and to challenge some of the common notions about particular 'famous experiments'. Elegant Solutions: Ten Beautiful Experiments in Chemistry is accessible to all readers, including those without a scientific background and can provide an unusual point of entry into some of the basic concepts of chemistry. Phillip Ball is a renowned, prolific, award winning science writer.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry (1 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0854046747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0854046744
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16.1 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Philip Ball is a freelance science writer. He worked at Nature for over 20 years, first as an editor for physical sciences (for which his brief extended from biochemistry to quantum physics and materials science) and then as a Consultant Editor. His writings on science for the popular press have covered topical issues ranging from cosmology to the future of molecular biology.

Product Description


It is rare for a book on chemistry to involve such feelings of awe as this one does. Elegant Solutions is an absolute delight, completely fulfilling Armstrong's words about the chemist being full of feeling. Wherever you work in chemistry, this book will have something to help you, to set you thinking, and to make you proud of your professional calling. Make sure you get a copy. Education in Chemistry, March 2006 (John Nicholson) One of Ball's objectives is to encourage us to think about what an experiment is and what role experiments play in the evolution of science.The whole book is full of vivid characters, pointed anecdote and insightful comment, and is a delight to read. It is accessible to any reasonably well-motivated non-chemist, and would make a fine present for such a person. Chemistry & Industry, 15th May 2006 (Martyn Berry) "...wonderful, compelling read..."...will be of interest to chemistrs and historians alike. This is a timely and very welcome achievement." Ambix, Vol 54, No 1 March 2007, Pedro Cintas This is a delightful (beautiful?) book that deserves a wide audience...The book contains ten chapters that do more than describe individual experiments; they put it in the context of contemporary thought and attitudes and the characters of the chemists themselves.It should be read by A-level students to put their learning in context and by undergraduates to examine the experimental excellent addition to Phillip Ball's growing list of popular science titles. Physical Sciences Educational Reviews, Volume 8, Issue 2, October 2007 (Roy Lowry) This book is particularly strong in that it is readily accessible by a general readership. It provokes you to think about how aesthetic values are related to experimental virtues. Joachim Schummer, I highly recommend Ball's book, which makes much of chemistry. Accessible to the nonchemist. Bulletin for the History of Chemistry, Vol 31, Number 1 (2006) (Leo B Slater)

About the Author

Phillip Ball is a renowned, prolific, award winning science writer.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant solutions 20 April 2006
The main focus of this book is on 20th century discoveries. Work on atomic structure and the making of new elements makes an interesting read. Excellent coverage of early work on gases/air. The best thing to do is go and read this - I had trouble putting it down once I was into the second chapter. Probabaly best if you have some sort of chemistry background, ideal for A level students and above.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not very useful 30 Dec 2013
By John Branch - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lots of good information but about as exciting to read as the phone book. This type of book is what happens when someone who is talented at something (like chemistry) attempts to write and doesn't collaborate with a professional writer. The information seems thrown into the book in random chunks that have little to do with each other out with chapter titles. Best to avoid this one. BTW,I am a chemistry teacher. I was looking for a book to supplement my textbook and shoot that chemistry can be fun and also to provide some historical context. This is not it
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