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The Diamond Makers: A Compelling Drama of Scientific Discovery

Biography / MemoirPopular Science

By: Robert M Hazen

244 pages, 42 b/w illus, 15 figs

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Jul 1999 | #100810 | ISBN: 0521654742
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £24.99 $34/€28 approx

About this book

Humans have treasured diamonds for their exquisite beauty and unrivaled hardness for thousands of years. Deep within the earth, diamonds grow. Diamonds the size of footballs, the size of watermelons - billions of tons of diamonds wait for eternity a hundred miles beyond our reach. Spanning centuries of ground-breaking science, bitter rivalry, outright fraud, and self-delusion, The Diamond Makers is a compelling narrative centered around the brilliant, often eccentric, and controversial pioneers of high pressure research. This vivid blend of dramatic personal stories and extraordinary scientific advances - and devastating failures - brings alive the quest to create diamond. Scientists have harnessed crushing pressures and scorching temperatures to transform almost any carbon-rich material, from road tar to peanut butter, into the most prized of gems. The book reveals the human dimensions of research - the competition, bravery, jealousy, teamwork, and greed that ultimately led to today's billion-dollar diamond synthesis industry.

'Read it and spread the word.' Robert Matthews, New Scientist 'Hazen represents the best of a rare breed ... Most of us do not know that the immense pressures reached in the interior of cosmic bodies like the earth can also be generated in our laboratories. This fascinating book explains the technology and important results of this pathbreaking work.' Stephen Jay Gould 'Very few scientists can convey the drama of scientific discovery and write as beautifully ... Hazen is a natural storyteller.' Frank Press, Past President, National Academy of Sciences 'Utterly absorbing new history ... Hazen makes the story profoundly exciting, conveying the scientific passion of the researchers ... It's a gem.' Curt Suplee, The Washington Post 'Sparkling gem of technological history ... Multifaceted and gleaming with drama and wit.' Kirkus Reviews 'Hazen exposes struggles, rivalries, failures, and successes in a captivating story.' Library Journal 'An amazing book ... I would recommend it without qualification.' Calvin Bass, Tulsa World 'Hazen tells the very interesting and gripping story of the manufacture of artificial diamonds in this fine book.' R. Rudman, Choice 'This is a scientific thriller. It has a rich cast of characters engaged in a quest (to make the first artificial diamonds); it has the lure of riches; it has the rivalry of the participants; and it has danger (not for nothing did high pressure researchers call their apparatus 'bombs').' Richard Stevenson, Chemistry in Britain 'The Diamond Makers is a first-class, fascinatingly well written history of the exciting developments that led to the creation of diamonds even from peanut butter.' William D. Romey, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY '... a compelling, nontechnical narrative covering centuries of history related to diamond, centred mostly around brilliant, often eccentric and controversial pioneers of research at high pressures ... a thorough and exciting account.' Francis P. Bundy, Physics Today 'I have been doing some studying and have just finished reading an outstanding book, The Diamond Makers by Robert M Hazen ... The book is of special interest to materials scientists.' Materials World


Preface; Prologue; 1. Mysteries; 2. Attempts; 3. The legacy of Percy Bridgman; 4. Baltzar von Platen and the incredible diamond machine; 5. The crystals of Loring Coes; 6. Project Superpressure; 7. Breakthrough; 8. Secrets; 9. Risky business; 10. The rivals; 11. The new diamond makers: diamond by explosion; 12. The new diamond makers: diamonds from a vapor; 13. The diamond breakers; Epilogue.

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