Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World. (Science News Books).
Simon Garfield. Hoping to find a cure for malaria, 18-year-old chemist William Perkin in 1856 concocted a mixture that exuded a stunning hue when dispensed on silk. Mauve, the not-quite purple color, caused a sensation in the fashion industry. Perkin had inadvertently created the first synthetic dye that would lead to the development of other shades of blue, violet, crimson, and green. His revolutionary use of applied chemistry had a far-reaching influence that bled into other sciences, from biochemistry to medicine. With a complete biographical overview, Garfield reveals how one seemingly inconsequential finding transformed one man's life and the field of chemistry forever. Norton, 2001, 222 p., b&w and color plates, hardcover, $23.95.