Prometheans in the Lab: Chemistry and the Making of the Modern World

Newton, Darwin, Pasteur, Einstein and other great physicists and biologists are household names, but the great chemists have received little recognition Yet it could be argued that chemistry, than any other scientific discipline, has made the modern world possible, largely through products that we take for granted In the style of the biology classic, The Microbe HunNewton, Darwin, Pasteur, Einstein and other great physicists and biologists are household names, but the great chemists have received little recognition Yet it could be argued that chemistry, than any other scientific discipline, has made the modern world possible, largely through products that we take for granted In the style of the biology classic, The Microbe Hunters, acclaimed science writer Sharon Bertsch McGrayne tells the history of the chemical revolution through the lives of the men who created it We don t recognize their names, but their legacy is all around us Before Nicholas LeBlanc discovered the chemical process for making washing soda in the early 1800s, soap was a highly taxed luxury item, and now it s something we use many times everyday without a second thought Without chemical fertilizer there might have been worldwide starvation in the mid 1900s Even something as simple as affordable dyes, which brought bright colorful clothing to the masses and democratized fashion, is given full attention An even handed account, Prometheans in the Lab describes not only the upside of each pivotal discovery, but also the oftentimes devastating unforeseen effects the
Prometheans in the Lab Chemistry and the Making of the Modern World Newton Darwin Pasteur Einstein and other great physicists and biologists are household names but the great chemists have received little recognition Yet it could be argued that chemistry than any

  • Title: Prometheans in the Lab: Chemistry and the Making of the Modern World
  • Author: Sharon Bertsch McGrayne
  • ISBN: 9780071407953
  • Page: 387
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Prometheans in the Lab: Chemistry and the Making of the Modern World”

    1. I came to this book by way of Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, and found it a bit of a letdown. The prose here is serviceable, but not nearly as inspiring as Bryson.The chapters are a very formulaic: from historical context to a brief biographical sketch, followed up with the discovery and a look at the consequences. Almost half of the book deals with the increase in use of leaded fuels in the world, the discovery of the environmental consequences, and the subsequent push to s [...]

    2. This book gives great backstory for why the EPA, Silent Spring, hole in the ozone layer exist. McGrayne gives historical context for how the use of environmentally damaging industrial chemicals became so widespread. It was somewhat surprising to read how crazy the chemists went later in life from essentially poisoning themselves in their labs for years with lead, mercury, and other substances with physiological effects.She gave just enough detail to make it interesting, but not so much to bog it [...]

    3. A well written book that looks at about 9 different chemists and their contribution to major discoveries that have greatly changed our lives.The writing is a little dry, not at entertaining as Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. But more in depth and informative and very readable. It amazes me how recently in our history many of these things were, and how quickly the ball of scientific knowledge grows once it gets rolling.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *