Molecules: The Elements and the Architecture of Everything

Molecules: The Elements and the Architecture of Everything PDF

Author: Theodore Gray

Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal


Publish Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN-10: 0316480584

Pages: 240

File Type: EPub

Language: English

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Book Preface

THE PERIODIC TABLE IS COMPLETE: We know those hundred or so elements are all we ever need to worry about. But there is no catalog of all the molecules in the universe, and there can’t be. There may be only six different chess pieces, but it’s out of the question to list all the ways of arranging them on a chess board.

Even putting molecules into logical groups (in order to write a book that at least covers all the categories) is a losing battle. There are almost as many categories of molecules as there are molecules. I take that to mean that I have the freedom to write about only the interesting ones, and the ones that illustrate the deeper connections and broader concepts that unify them all.

If you’re looking for a standard presentation of compounds, such as you might find in a chemistry textbook, you’ll be disappointed. There is no chapter on acids and bases in this book. I do talk about acids, of course, but in connection with other things that I personally find more fascinating, like soap (which is made by using a strong base to turn a weak acid into a soluble salt that makes oil and water mix).

In that sense this book is more like the one collection of compounds every kid should have: a chemistry set. It’s a little of everything, put together not to be complete, but to be interesting. It will teach you something about how the world of chemistry works, and give you a sense of the scope of the subject.

I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Chemistry sets were more popular a few generations ago. It’s a common lament of older scientists that kids today just don’t have access to the proper tools for discovery and learning. Just try to make an explosive using the typical chemistry set you get today. It’s almost as if they were trying to make it hard. But as with much lamenting about the world today and all the great things you can’t get anymore, a little digging often shows that what you’re missing still exists, it’s just moved to the internet. This set, a Kickstarter project, is every bit as complete and filled with opportunities for mischief as any set from the past hundred years. Like this book, it doesn’t shy away from the more interesting compounds just because they might have a bit of an edge to them. And like this book, it comes with clear warnings about the very real dangers that chemicals pose when handled carelessly or without an understanding of their power.

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EPub October 9, 2019

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