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

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Wiley, Aug 28, 2000 - Science - 352 pages
30 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  - 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  - 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

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About the author (2000)

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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