The Disappearing Spoon

The Disappearing SpoonI received so many cool Christmas presents this year I haven’t even begun to work through all of them.

The Disappearing Spoon” is one of them.

It’s a book about the periodic table of elements, but instead of a tedious account describing chemical properties or atomic structure, it’s a juicy book chock-full of curious vignettes about the discoverers, uses or misuses of various elements. It flits from element to element, with a deft touch, and includes enough scientific explanation to feel a bit educational–but not enough to weigh the book down.

I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m about 4/5 of the way through, and it’s a fantastic read for people who love little trivial tidbits of information.

For example, the Disappearing Spoon of the title refers to an old practical joke involving gallium (element 31). The metallic element melts at 84 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can put it in a spoon mold, serve it, and watch when people freak out because their coffee or tea has melted the spoon.