The Disappearing Spoon

17,Spheres of Splendor: The Science of Bubbles, Craig Miller

Synopsis

In chapter 17 of The Disappearing Spoon It talks about how a physicist, Donald Glaser, invented a very important piece of scientific technology not only over a glass of beer but by a glass of beer. Looking at the bubbles that came up in the beer Glaser took it to the lab and eventually challenged many minds with his discoveries of how bubbles affected science.

Hydrogen

atomic number: 1

mass: 1.008

period/group: 1

electron configuration: 1s1

Classification: Other Nonmetal

Where is it found: Water

uses: It can be used for anything from fertilizer to rocket fuel

When was it found: 1766

Who is it discovered by/named after: Henry Cadavish

Unique characteristics: Invisible gas at room temperature, odorless

Calcium

atomic number: 20

mass: 40.078

period/group: 2

electron configuration: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2

Classification: Alkaline Earth Metals

Where is it found: Rocks

uses: Used for production of metals and water purification

When was it found: 1808

Who is it discovered by/named after: Sir Humphrey Davy

Unique characteristics: Shiny, Silvery metal, Soft

Rutherfordium

atomic number: 104

mass: 267

period/group: transition

electron configuration:

1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s2 4p6 4d10 4f14 5s2 5p6 5d10 5f14 6s2 6p6 6d2 7s2

Classification: transition metal

Where is it found: lab element

uses: research only

When was it found: 1964

Who is it discovered by/named after: Lord Ernest Rutherford

Unique characteristics: radioactive

Radon

atomic number: 86

mass: 222

period/group: 8

electron configuration: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s2 4p6 4d10 5s2 5p6 4f14 5d10 6s2 6p6

Classification: noble gas

Where is it found: comes from natural decay of uranium

uses: used to be used to treat cancer

When was it found: 1900

Who is it discovered by/named after: Fredrich E. Dorn

Unique characteristics: radioactive, colorless, odorless

Zirconium

atomic number: 40

mass: 91.22

period/group: transition

electron configuration: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s2 4p6 4d2 5s2

Classification: transition metal

Where is it found: in minerals

uses: used for steel alloys and magnets

When was it found: 1789

Who is it discovered by/named after: Martin Heinrich Klaproth

Unique characteristics: strong, malleable, ductile, white, metal

xenon

atomic number: 54

mass: 131.293

period/group: 5

electron configuration: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s2 4d10 5p6

Classification: Noble Gas

Where is it found: Earthe atmosphere

uses: Camera flash and ultra-violet light

When was it found: 1898

Who is it discovered by/named after: Sir William Ramsay

Unique characteristics: colorless, odorless, heavy, gas

Summary

This chapter out of the book the disappearing spoon started off by talking about a man drinking beer then thinking about the bubbles in it. He took that beer back to his lab and experimented with it until eventually, years later, he invented the bubble chamber. A bubble chamber is a vessel filled with a super-heated transparent liquid (most often liquid hydrogen) used to detect electrically charged particles moving through it. Bubbles aren't usually counted as an essential scientific tool. As the chapter ends, it says bubble science had a strong foundation. Physicists interested in alternative energy now model superconductors with bubbles. It is amazing how something as simole as bubbles can make a big difference in physics.

Sources

"Element Facts." Chemicool. Web. <http://www.chemicool.com/elements/>.