The Disappearing Spoon

Why You Should Read Kean's Irresistible Book About Science!

What is the Book About?

The Disappearing Spoon, by Sam Kean, is a book about the famous (or infamous if you are in school) periodic table of the elements. It combines Kean's myriad of stories of different elements. Each story either brings parts of his personal life, bits of history, and many more things.

A Couple of Cool Chapters

Chapter 11: How Elements Deceive

Some elements are beneficial to the human body. But be careful, they may hurt too!

How Elements Deceive Painting

"...in pure oxygen [flames] will burn faster and hotter without the dilution of atmospheric nitrogen to absorb some of the heat or otherwise interfere." -NASA
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Chapter 14: Artistic Elements

The Disappearing Spoon - Artistic Elements

(Chapter 17) Learn about the Bubble Chamber!

Donald Glaser "suspected he could photograph the bubble trails (of subatomic particles) and then measure how different particles left different trails or spirals, depending on their size and charge..."


"Depending on their size and charge, different subatomic particles make different swirls and spirals as they blast through a bubble chamber. The tracks are actually finely spaced bubbles in a frigid bath of liquid hydrogen," (Kean 297).

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Helpful Student-Made Video! Chapter 1 Summary

Read The Disappearing Spoon to understand why elements are placed in the periodic table in their groups and periods.
Disappearing Spoon Chapter 1 eLesson