The Disappearing Spoon

By: Abriana Lane

Chapter 2

In chapter 2 Sam Kean talks about the longest word in the world and how the word describes a protein and how proteins are made from carbon which is the 6th element on the periodic table and the most versatile. Carbon is the backbone for amino acid. Also it talks about electron configuration and the octet rule.

During this chapter it talks about carbon and how carbon can share it's electrons with up to four other atoms at once which allows carbon to make complex chains. Also that carbon is compatible with the element beside it which is Silicon and not the ones that are above it or below it, But just because they are similar does not mean that silicon can do the same things carbon can and vise versa. Like how silicon can have more electrons which would be like carbon but with an extra 50 pounds add on.

At the end of the chapter Sam Kean talks about the element germanium and how germanium is the black sheep and the no luck element. Since 1945 the use of germanium was almost obsolete because the transistor industry had tanked.

Carbon (C)

Atomic Number:6

Atomic Mass: 12.001

Period: 2 Group: 14

electron Configuration: 1s(2) 2s(2) 2p(2)

Classification: Nonmetal

Geographically found: most of carbon is found anywhere

Why is it important: Carbon forms the key component for all known life on Earth

Discovered: Was found as charcoal in the prehistoric period but no one will probably ever know who found carbon.

Unique characteristics: Since all carbons are the same they can link with other carbons to make long links or rings.

Silicon (Si)

Atomic Number:14

Atomic Mass:28.085

period: 3 group 14

Electron Configuration: 1s(2) 2s(2) 2p(6) 3s(2) 3p(2)

Classification: metalloids

Geographically found: mostly found in the Untied States

Discovered:It was discovered in 1824 by the Swedish chemist Jons Jakob Berzelius.

Unique Characteristics: Silicon also has the unusual property that (like water) it expands as it freezes

Germanium (Ge)

Atomic Number:32

Atomic Mass:72.63

Electron Configuration: 1s(2) 2s(2) 2p(6) 3s(2) 3p(6) 4s(2) 3d(10) 4p(2)

Classification: metalloids

Geographically found: you can find it either in Belgium, China, and Russia.

Discovered:Germanium was discovered in 1886 by the German chemist Clemens A. Winkler but in 1871 a chemist Mendeleev had predicted this new element would have properties that are like silicon

Unique Characteristics:germanium is mostly used as a semiconductor


Throughout the chapter he talked about how Carbon, Silicon and Germanium became elements. Also on there characteristics and how they can do things that other elements can not do. Then how Silicon and Germanium are somewhat similar to each other.