Which chemistry book would you take to your desert island?
Q Which chemistry book would you take to your desert island?
A Amongst the most remarkable of all professional chemists was Primo Levi; he is generally regarded as one of the most important 20th Century Italian writers. His partly autobiographical book The periodic table is both a good book about chemistry, and a great book. It touches on many profound issues including the Holocaust, with each chapter keyed to an element. If you have not read it, do so!
Paul O’Brien, University of Manchester, UK
A I’d want Uncle Tungsten: memories of a chemical boyhood, by Oliver Sacks, for enthusiasm and optimism; The scent of orchids: olfactory and chemical investigations, by Roman Kaiser, for learning about the orchids that I’d find while exploring the forests on my island; and Chemistry in the marketplace, by Ben Selinger, a source of practical chemical information that could be useful for survival or for devising a way off the island.
Murray Baker, University of Western Australia
A I would take with me a book called Eurekas and euphorias by Walter Gratzer. It is a wonderful collection of historical scientific incidents, equally entertaining and informative as it shows the human side of science. It was comforting for me to read that my weak point - a preternatural absence of mind - was not unique to the best minds of the world in their capacity to exclude their surroundings.
Eugenia Kumacheva, University of Toronto, Canada
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