Books  Physical Sciences  Chemistry 

Every Molecule Tells a Story

By: Simon Cotton

280 pages, 369 b/w illustrations, 4 tables

CRC Press

Hardback | Nov 2011 | #196856 | ISBN-13: 9781439807736
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £38.99 $48/€44 approx

About this book

From cooking to medicine, from engineering to art, chemistry--the science of molecules--is everywhere. A celebration of the molecules of chemistry, "Every Molecule Tells a Story" celebrates the molecules responsible for the experiences of everyday life: the air we breathe; the water we drink; the chemicals that fuel our living; the steroids that give us sex; the colours of the seasons; the drugs that heal us; and the scented molecules that enrich our diet and our encounters with each other. You can't see them, but you know that they are there. Unveiling the structures of poisonous "natural" substances and beneficial man-made molecules, this book brushes away any preconceived notions about chemistry to demonstrate why and how molecules matter.

[...]in the science section of bookstores (those that have one) the shelves are stacked with books on origins of the universe and on dinosaurs (and biological evolution) physics, biology and geology, and never a chemistry-related book in sight. The bizarre aspect of this bias is that we can go about our daily lives without the need to contemplate the Big Bang hypothesis or the complexities of Darwinian evolution, but we do have to think about choices involving food & vitamins, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, together with news reports of atmospheric change, clean water, toxic chemicals, and so on.
- Geoff Rayner-Canham, Memorial University of Newfoundland

"Simon is eminently qualified to write this book. He knows exactly how to reach the target audience and I have been reading, and collecting, his articles for many years. He writes in a highly readable style with a lightness of touch which the subject demands if it is to attract and hold a wider audience. He writes successfully both as a qualified chemist and as a populariser."
- John Emsley, University of Cambridge

"The rampant and pervasive irrational fear of chemicals - "Chemophobia" in our society needs to cured, impossible as it may be, and Cotton's book will go a long way to eradicate this disease."
- Gordon W. Gribble, Dartmouth College

"Simon Cotton has that rare ability of making chemistry understandable and fascinating by combining intriguing scientific information and relevant human interest."
- John Emsley, University of Cambridge


- Atmosphere and Water - Carbohydrates and Artificial Sweeteners - Hydrocarbons - Acids and Alkalis - Steroids and Sex - The Senses - Cosmetics and Perfumes - Natural Killers - Unnatural Killers - Explosives - Pleasure Molecules - Natural Healers - Man-Made Healers - Synthetic Polymers Bibliography Index

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Simon Cotton obtained his B.Sc. and PhD at Imperial College London, followed by research and teaching appointments at Queen Mary College, London, and the University of East Anglia. He subsequently taught chemistry in both state and independent schools for over 30 years, has lectured widely in the UK and carries out research on the chemistry of iron, cobalt, scandium, and the lanthanide elements.

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