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Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A popular account of chemistry, finally., 4 Aug. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Mendeleyev's Dream: The Quest for the Elements (Paperback)
This is a nice book about not so popular a subject.
To many people, chemistry classes are not the fondest of memories. Some people (like me) have had to endure the gruesome experience of rote learning Mendeleyev's table, and I have had to pass chemistry exams without the table (but needing its information, so I had to know it).
Nevertheless, this book proves that reading about the history of chemistry need not be as gruesome as learning Mendeleyev's table; on the contrary, when it is well told, it is fun. Although little time is spent on Mendeleyev himself (I would actually have liked to learn a little bit more about the man), this book beautifully traces the history of chemistry, from the ancient Greeks, over the alchemists, to early-twentiest century chemistry. It stops at the turn of the century, so it unfortunately lacks information about the fate of chemistry during the twentiest century (which has cost it a star in my rating): nothing is said about the fusion of chemistry with quantum physics for instance, which explains Mendeleyev's table on a deeper fundamental level; neither does one learn about what contemporary chemistry is about.
Nevertheless, this book is easy and fun to read, and should do excellently for a lost afternoon under the cover of a palm tree, or a quiet evening by the fire.
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