Disappearing Spoon Essay

715 words - 3 pages

The Disappearing Spoon, written by Sam Kean, is a fascinating novel that discusses one of the most important items in all of science, The Periodic Table of Elements. Throughout the novel, Kean brings up the idea that elements found on the table are not always what they appear to be, and how different elements can play different roles in a persons life. Sam Kean was always fascinated by elements, long before he wrote this novel in 2010. When Kean was a young boy, he would get sick on several different occasions, and was so interested by mercury thermometers to the point where he would break the thermometer on purpose just so he could see how the small mercury balls would react with each other. While reading this interesting novel, I turned my attention to Chapter 11, which is titled “How Elements Deceive”.
Just as the title of the chapter suggests, the main focus of Chapter 11 is how elements found on the Periodic Table are not always what they appear. Kean begins this chapter with describing how elements can be unpredictable in some conditions, and uses example from the past to support his claim. One of his examples occurred in 1966, when NASA discovered that oxygen will burn faster without nitrogen present to absorb some of the heat. Throughout this chapter, Sam Kean uses a variety of different examples related to NASA, as well as other real life situations, in order to prove his point about how elements can be unpredictable. In addition to these examples, Kean also uses a variety of different examples including real life scientists who were affected by elements, which had effects that were not apparent to people at the time. Overall, Chapter 11 focuses exclusively on the idea that elements can are not always what they appear to be, and on occasion they can surprise a person.
As stated earlier, the main idea of Chapter 11 is that elements are not always what they appear to be, and these elements can be somewhat unpredictable. Kean is able to illustrate this idea very clearly...

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