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The Consumer's Good Chemical Guide: A Jargon-Free Guide to the Chemical of Everyday Life (Scientific American Library Series) Paperback – 1 Mar 1998

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Product details

  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New edition edition (1 Mar. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0716730340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0716730347
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,319,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Personal details first: I'm married to Joan and we have two married children and four grandchildren. I now live in Ampthill in Bedfordshire to which we moved after living in London for 35 years. (Joan was deputy head teacher in Hampstead Garden Suburb School.) I am a writer, contributing articles to magazines as well as writing books. I also have a website where I've deposited a lot of my articles including some fun ones that were published in newsletters.
Career details: I was a student in Manchester and did a PhD there in the 1960s. I was a lecturer in chemistry at King's College London for 24 years and produced more than 100 original research papers.
I became a full-time science writer in 1990, and was Imperial College's Science Writer in Residence from 1990-97, during which time I wrote a column for The Independent newspaper called Molecule of the Month.
From 1997-2002 I held a similar position in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge when I produced its newsletter Chem@Cam.
I began writing popular science books while at Imperial College and the first of these was The Consumer's Good Chemical Guide which won the Science Book Prize of 1995. Then followed Molecules at an Exhibition, Nature's Building Blocks (now in its second edition), The Shocking History of Phosphorus, Vanity, Vitality & Virility, The Elements of Murder, Better Looking, Better Living, Better Loving, Molecules of Murder, and A Healthy, Wealthy, Sustainable World.
My latest book is a short novel, Islington Green, which is based on the themes of A Healthy, Wealthy, Sustainable World, and I did this in the hope that it might reach a wider audience. It's available as an e-book and priced £1.99.
My popoular science books have been translated in most other languages, including Korean and Thai, and in 2003 I won the German Chemical Society Writer's Prize. Over the years, I've taken part in radio programmes and acted as an advisor for TV programmes which involved chemistry. One of my more interesting consultancies was to assess the claims being made in television adverts where these involved household chemicals, a job I did for 12 years.

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By Liza Gardner on 11 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great book
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Podogrodzki on 24 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback
...they way you view chemistry and chamicals around you.

Emsley explains how chemicals improve our lives, where they are necessary, where they are dangerous and what can be done to minimize the danger.

Highly recommended!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This ought to be required reading! 14 July 2002
By J. Gittins - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It is definetely too bad that this book is not still in print for the public to buy! I'm 18 years old and love science, but you don't really have to be a science whiz to understand it.
What I believe is so great about this book is that it exposes the fallacies in the beliefs people have about certain chemicals, from sugar (and artifical sweeteners), cholesterol, fats, and fiber, painkillers (and other medications), PVC, dioxins, and carbon dioxide (global warming). People are misinformed by the media and even medical sources as to the dangers of these things, when many of these things are actually good for us!
This book was written from a logical viewpoint. John Emsley, who is a great author, discusses both sides of a topic, and really just makes the book interesting.
I believe it should be required reading in high school because then so many kids would be exposed to the fallacies that the media puts out about everything from sugar (It's not bad!) to body health. We as Americans believe so many things blindly without realizing the actual scientific proof. This books is great!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
EXCELLENT 23 Nov. 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This was a very clearly written and insightful book. It was well researched and presented in an appealing format in layman's terms. He described the essence of flavors,perfumes, and other good chemicals. The best book on the importance of chemistry in everyday life that I've read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Lots of useful information! 28 Nov. 2009
By CKE - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Emsley has written a series of interesting books on how chemistry interacts with our everyday lives such as Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements, Molecules of Murder: Criminal Molecules and Classic Cases. "The Consumer's Good Chemical Guide" is well written and provides straight talk on how consumer chemistry. Not interested? Consider

- How do pain killers work? Why are some better than others?

- What is the history of artificial sweeteners? Is Aspartame actually dangerous?

- What causes perfumes to smell?

- How can chemistry help you devise a fool-proof diet?

- What is the difference between the different types of fats? How are they different once they enter your body?

A small sampling of the topics, but it really does not do the book justice. Remember each topic is being describing by a top-notch researcher, and real references are provided. My final verdict - highly recommended for anyone who has an interest in chemistry.

5 Stars
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