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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The Chemistry Book

Title: The Chemistry Book: From Gunpowder to Graphene, 250 Milestones in the History of Chemistry
Author: Derek B. Lowe

Elements and their interactions with each other make up every single thing in this Universe, including us. Their properties, abilities, and the various conditions for their states of stable nature are fundamental to our existence, and the existence of the entire Universe. Every material is made up of some chemical element. The world functions as an integral of all sciences, the most fundamental of which can be called Chemistry. Chemistry is what is called the 'central science', and for good reason!
"Chemistry really does occupy the middle ground between physics and biology, claiming territory from each of those sciences as well as its own."
From a period ranging from c. 500,000 BCE with the discovery and understanding of the phenomenon that creates Crystals, to a projection into the future expected results in 2030 when the world is on a steady way to understand Artificial Photosynthesis, Derek Lowe has you covered in an exciting and simple chronological narration of milestone discoveries in the history of chemistry. 

Lowe says, "The study of chemistry is older than human writing.Humans have been playing with fire, understanding how a spark can be created, making weaponry from metals- and all of these are essentially "chemical explorations", as the author shows you in this book! Every chapter of this book is small, concise, and very interesting. It shows you how a compound, or an element, or any chemical substance or process came to be- including when it was discovered, who all worked on it, what it is used for, and any interesting story associated with it. Every chapter runs for around 2-3 pages, making it an easy and insightful read that any beginner in Chemistry needs. 

This book is for all of us. We all breathe oxygen, exhale carbon dioxide, use vessels made of aluminium, use aspirin for headaches, wear nylon clothes, decorate our homes with pretty porcelain flower vases, and the list can go on and on- but how much do we know about any of these chemical substances? That is essentially what this book helps in- you get to know how a chemical substance came about, and why we use it the way we do. 

Derek Lowe is a professional chemist himself, and has an expert blog In The Pipeline. Chemists like him are part of the processes for the next important discoveries that the world is to see in the upcoming decades. 
"The story continues. I myself am a professional chemist and wrote this book on nights and weekends. During the day, I’m in the lab, as are thousands of chemists around the world, helping to write the next chapters. Readers are welcome to visit my website, In the Pipeline, where I talk about the kind of work I do and give updates on the field’s cutting-edge advances."
It's the kind of book where you can read one or two chapters a day, and that is what I have been doing! The information that you learn, bit by bit, about the things around you makes you understand this world much better, and gives you a good perspective behind why things behave the way they do. Do check it out, it's an interesting read! 

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