Mendeleyev's Dream: The Quest for the Elements

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Macmillan, Apr 21, 2001 - Science - 308 pages
In this elegant, erudite, but entertaining book, Paul Strathern, the award-winning novelist and expositor of complex ideas, unravels the dramatic history of chemistry through the quest for the elements.

Framing this history is the life story of the nineteenth-century Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleyev, who fell asleep at his desk and awoke after conceiving the periodic table in a dream-the template upon which modern chemistry is founded and the formulation of which marked chemistry's coming of age as a science. From ancient philosophy through medieval alchemy to the splitting of the atom, this is the true story of the birth of chemistry and the role of one man's dream.

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MENDELEYEV'S DREAM: The Quest for the Elements

User Review  - Kirkus

A nimble chronological history of the transformation of sorcery and superstition into chemistry.Strathern (Foucault in 90 Minutes, 2000, etc.) does not focus on a single figure (despite his title ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jennchem - LibraryThing

I picked up this book at the library because I've been hoping to learn more about Mendeleyev's path to the periodic table. The book jacket--which I don't have on me right now--does mention that it ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Paul Strathern was born in London in 1940. He studied physics, chemistry, and math at Trinity College, Dublin, before switching to philosophy. He is the author of several novels, including A Season in Abyssinia, which won a Somerset Maugham prize, and two highly successful series of short introductory books, Philosophers in 90 Minutes and The Big Idea: Scientists Who Changed the World. Paul Strathern lectures in philosophy and science at Kingston University.

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