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Mendeleyev's Dream: The Quest For the Elements

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The story of how we got from there to here is full of fascinating people, and in this elegant, entertaining book, Paul Strathern introduces us to ancient philosophers, medieval alchemists, and the earliest chemists-and to Dimitri Mendeleyev, the card-playing nineteenth-century Russian who claimed that the answers came to him in a dream. He oozes contempt for the alchemists, and obsequiously sings the praises of any enlightened scientist who was so-to-speak ahead of his time.

While the book was quite lengthy, I couldn’t help but feel that the part about Mendeleyev’s story was rather concise. His vivid, pacey style is equally present in his first full-length science book, “Mendeleyev’s Dream”, the story of how the Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleyev built upon 2,400 years of chemistry to construct the Periodic Table. The author clearly gets annoyed with the religious meanderings and beliefs of some figures in the book but also conveys how some of these side quests ultimately led to the goal.I have no staff, no interns, not even an assistant — a thoroughly one-woman labor of love that is also my life and my livelihood. He is scheduled to meet with a group of cheesemakers in a small town some 600 kilometres away and must catch a train. However, the title of the book sets up wrong expectations that the book would be focused on Mendeleyev's life and work.

It is also extremely well matched to the fascinating story adduced in this absorbing and enlightening book. The dream, of course, was just a function of what the human brain normally does during sleep — organizing and consolidating the ideas, images, and bits of information that occupy our waking hours. Others, in particular the German chemist Julius Meyer, were also puzzling over the tantalizing patterns that Mendeleyev had begun to discern in his early arrangements of the known elements. Among his negative opinions, he often puts down their religion as "ignorance", which gives the author himself an unlikable air of pomposity and judgmentalism. For example, Mendeleyev’s Periodic Table was so successful because it was predictive as well as descriptive.A history of chemistry, starting with ancient philosophy, via alchemy, and culminating in Mendeleyev's periodic table. The argument was conducted entirely within the realms of this world, from which evidence could be gathered to prove or disprove its conclusions. Read more about the condition New: A new, unread, unused book in perfect condition with no missing or damaged pages. Boyles Sceptial Chemist, with his concept of elements as particles, was one of the first coherent refutations of the Aristotelian theory and its chokehold on progress.

And it was philosophy because it used reason to reach these conclusions: there was no appeal to the gods or mysterious metaphysical forces.LinkedIn and 3rd parties use essential and non-essential cookies to provide, secure, analyze and improve our Services, and to show you relevant ads (including professional and job ads) on and off LinkedIn. Despite this work's many merits, Strathern's authorial alchemy hasn't managed to turn his base elements into gold. It would have Ben interesting to add an epilogue about the ways that the periodic table has influenced science and popular culture since Mendeleev, but only physic's Eightfold Way was mentioned. The way Chemistry finally got rid of the heavy alchemy envelope to become a formal science closed the circle with Mendeleyev's Periodic Table that, provides a framework that put together two hundred years of discovery and prepared chemistry for the future (nuclear fusion, DNA, the origin of the universe, sub-atomic particles).

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