“It’s a life story by a chemist seen through the prism of an elemental substance. Some of it doesn’t work very well and some of it works very well. There’s a lovely chapter on iron that refers to the arrival of the Fascist era. There’s a much more personal account involving mine tailings and the extraction of precious metals from mine tailing, which he was employed at. That gives him a chance to contemplate the nature of matter itself and why the stuff that’s in the ground is the same as the stuff that actually composes our bodies. And why things that happen in chemistry can be subtly different if you alter the element that’s involved in the process. All of it is illuminating. You read it and you understand the world around you much better for having read even a sentence of Levi. “ Read more...
The best books on Science Writing