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The Joy of Chemistry: the Amazing Science of Familiar Things.


Like cooking and sex, chemistry has inspired enough joy to fill a book. The Joy of Chemistry outlines the many ways in which this subject, usually confined to textbooks and science fairs, applies to everyday life. From the functioning of computers and smoke detectors to how fall foliage changes color, chemistry is at work everywhere. This book introduces readers to the world of chemistry through accessible prose and engaging experiments. After a brief introduction on safety and a useful shopping list, the book jumps into the first of more than 20 at-home projects: making a bottle-rocket out of common household materials. These aren't how-to science projects for kids, but rather "demonstrations" for a wide range of readers. Each demonstration is followed by a chapter containing a simple explanation of such chemical principles as intermolecular attractions and bonds, the behavior of gases, and the differences between acids and bases. The chapters also look into the history of the principles underlying the demonstration and offer examples of chemistry from everyday life. For example, one passage explains why fresh pizza goes bad, and another tells readers how their kidneys are similar to celery. This informative book can provide not only deeper understanding of the way things work but also enjoyment. Prometheus, 2005, 393 p., b&w illus., hardcover, $26.00.
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Title Annotation:Books: a selection of new and notable books of scientific interest
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Mar 26, 2005
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