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Molecules At An Exhibition: Portraits of Intriguing Materials in Everyday Life Paperback – 31 May 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

  • Molecules At An Exhibition: Portraits of Intriguing Materials in Everyday Life
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Product details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, U.S.A.; New Ed edition (31 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192862065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192862068
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 1.5 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'A broad audience, regardless of whether it has a background in chemistry, will enjoy browsing and reading it.' Nature

popular science writing at its best. It is educational, interesting, may prove inspirational and..deserves to find a very wide readership (THES)

highly readable and entertaining (New Scientist)

About the Author

John Emsley is Science Writer in Residence at the Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine. A regular broadcaster on scientific topics, Emsley wrote the "Molecule of the Month" column for The Independent from 1990 to 1996. He lives in London.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Molecules might seem an unlikely topic for a popular work, but the author is one of those rare teachers who can breathe life into the most unpromising subject. This work is a guided tour through some of the most interesting materials on earth - or perhaps this is Emsley's art.
He has organized his subjects thematically in broad areas such as health, transport, and the environment, with eight galleries of a dozen portraits each. The history of each is traced, with information on its structure, origin, and its role in our world. Some substances, such as selenium, prove unexpectedly vital. Others, such as Sarin, the terrorists' nerve gas, began innocuously enough but have been adopted for evil purposes. Still others hold the key to the secret of chocolate, how Teflon sticks to pans, and possibly a clean, renewable fuel for the future. All are interesting.
The alchemy is Emsley's transmutation of chemistry into entertaining instruction.
(The "score" rating is an ineradicable feature of the page. This reviewer does not "score" books.)
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Format: Paperback
In my opinion, John Emsley is a fantastic writer. I have thoroughly enjoyed this read.
Anyone with a general interest in chemistry or even just science would enjoy this book; it is full of interesting facts.
A vast knowledge of chemistry is not needed, I am merely an A-level chemist myself!!
Read it and I hope you love it half as much as I have.
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Format: Paperback
The title of this book could make it seem like a complicated, very technical book. However, within the first few pages, it is evident that this is not the case. The way it is written means that even complicated terms are thoroughly explained, and even those with next to no chemical knowledge can clearly understand and enjoy this book. Fantastic!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a WONDERFUL book (thankyou to Amazon reviewer Mike who alerted me to Emsley) and I shall certainly be buying more Emsleys - Nature's Building Blocks is already on the waiting to be read pile.

We have here, a serious chemist, university lecturer in chemistry for 25 years, amongst other credits, who is also that wonderful thing A WRITER. Someone with knowledge, someone who can make that knowledge fun, fascinating, accessible - but not offensively `for dummies' for those of us who are interested in the subject but lack the will or the skill to plough through earnest, dry and dustily academic tomes on the subject. The overall flavour is of someone talking you through juicily fascinating pieces of chemical gossip!

Emsley cleverly arranges the chemistry he 'exhibits' into different galleries, and pretends to be a tour guide walking us through the rooms. An informative and entertaining tour guide. So we have, for example, a gallery devoted to metals which are essential for the body's health such as calcium, copper, tin etc. In each 'gallery' he explores a range of uses of each material.Other 'galleries' molecules that are malevolent (poisons), molecules in the home - surfectants, disinfectants etc, molecules 'that stalk the earth' for example, air, water - each gallery is fascinating!

Curiously, he doesn't come across as being particularly environmentally conscious, passing without undue emotion such worrying pieces of information as `known reserves of tin will last only about 30 years at the current rate of consumption' `exploitable reserves of copper are expected to last for only another 50 years' And for anyone who thinks, well, that's still ages away, this book was published in 1998. There has been no 'revised edition' Yes.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting and humorous look at the chemistry behind the molecules in everyday items such as coke and plastics.
John Emsley writes brilliantly with a slight sense of sarcasm, which is very amusing. I particularly enjoyed the section on polymers, despite knowing next to nothing about them.
As I read it during my GCSEs, I didn't quite understand all of the chemistry involved. However, I got most of it as it wasn't too difficult.
I got a few funny looks from people when I read this, but who cares? The book is fantastic.
I would definitely recommend this book (even though it is a little outdated) and I think I shall have to read it again soon.
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Format: Paperback
Have you ever wondered about the chemistry behind everyday materials like salt, fuels, caffeine or medicine? This book takes a bunch of molecules familiar to most people, either from their everyday life or from news headlines and explores them from a chemist's point of view.

The result is an intriguing book, written in an enthusiastic and friendly style. It doesn't take much understanding of chemistry to follow Emsley and he offers interesting perspectives to everyday materials. Molecules at an Exhibition is a good and entertaining way to increase one's knowledge on chemistry. (Review based on the Finnish translation.)
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By Mousley TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 Jan. 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book. My Mrs thinks I'm a nerd...she's a senior pharmacist so deals with chemicals and their effects on the body all day long...I just like to learn stuff...if you want to know about elements and what they do / do for us and their main applications read this...I wish I had this book years (and years) ago when I was doing my A level chemistry or metallurgy degree..
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