The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus

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Wiley, Jan 21, 2002 - Science - 352 pages
23 Reviews
The incredible "glowing" history of the "Devil's element "phosphorus

Discovered by alchemists, prescribed by apothecaries, exploited by ninth-century industrialists, and abused by twentieth-century combatants, the chemical element phosphorus has fascinated us for more than three centuries. It may even be the cause of will-o'-the wisps and spontaneous human combustion! Now John Emsley has written an enthralling account of this eerily luminescent element. Shining with wonderful nuggets-from murders-by-phosphorus to a match factory strike; from the firebombing of Hamburg to the deadly compounds derived from phosphorus today-The 13th Element weaves together a rich tableau of brilliant and oddball characters, social upheavals, and bizarre events.

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Review: The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus

User Review  - Stephanie - Goodreads

Interesting information about Phosphorus and about history. I think some of the last chapters should have come earlier to give a better idea of current environmental impact, etc. Read full review

Review: The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus

User Review  - Kathleen Gray - Goodreads

It was very detailed and I really enjoyed how it encompassed a broad range of topics regarding phosphorus. However I think that the general public with no scientific background may be bored or confused by some of the details given. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed it. Read full review

About the author (2002)

JOHN EMSLEY is Science Writer in Residence at both Cambridge University and Imperial College of London University. He has won the prestigious Rhone-Poulenc Prize for best science book of the year, was an editor of New Scientist magazine, and wrote a science column for the Independent newspaper.

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