The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Rivalry, Adventure, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements (Young Readers Edition)

by Sam Kean Author

(From Amazon): A young readers edition of the New York Times bestseller The Disappearing Spoon, chronicling the extraordinary stories behind one of the greatest scientific tools in existence: the periodic table.Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why did tellurium (Te, 52) lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history?The periodic table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of adventure, greed, betrayal, and obsession. The fascinating tales in The Disappearing Spoon follow elements on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. Adapted for a middle grade audience, the young readers edition of The Disappearing Spoon offers the material in a simple, easy-to-follow format, with approximately 20 line drawings and sidebars throughout. Students, teachers, and burgeoning science buffs will love learning about the history behind the chemistry.


Additional Details

Resource Type
Print Status
In Print
Suggested Grades
6th - 12th
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Young Readers ed.


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 1: Geography of the Elements
  • 3 2: The Fathers of the Periodic Table
  • 4 3: All in the Family: The Genealogy of Elements
  • 5 4: Where Atoms Come From: "We are All Star Stuff"
  • 6 5: Elements in Times of War
  • 7 6: Completing the Table....with a Bang
  • 8 Expanding the Cold War
  • 9 8: Bad Chemistry
  • 10 9: Poisoner's Corridor: "Ouch-Ouch"
  • 11 10: Take Two Elements, Call Me in the Morning
  • 12 11: How Elements Deceive
  • 13 12: Politicial Elements
  • 14 13: Elements as Money
  • 15 14: Artistic Elements
  • 16 15: An Element of Madness
  • 17 16: Chemistry Way, Way Below Zero
  • 18 17: The Science of Bubbles
  • 19 18: Tools of Ridiculous Precision
  • 20 19: Above (and Beyond) the Periodic Table

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