When someone recommended The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Period Table of Elements I hesitated because I generally don’t enjoy reading books that involve a significant amount of science. However, when I learned that the book’s author, Sam Klean, is first a first-rate journalist I decided to get a copy.

In summary, the book have some interesting technical content related to chemistry, metals and basic science. For example, it describes how material naming can be driven by physical properties such as Transition Metals but also how categorizations can be driven more by usage (gold, silver, etc.). While this information may not have direct practical implications for titanium or other specialty metals I found the core concepts to be helpful and interesting.

What makes the book accessible are the personal stories of the scientists and the details behind how they made significant discoveries. Additionally there were a wide range of “fun facts” spread throughout the book. For example, beryllium has a sweet taste that closely resembles sugar.

Whether you are looking for a fun read or an enhanced understanding of basic chemistry this book could be a good summer reading option for you or someone you know.

Here is a link to the book’s Amazon.com page.

Links and News of Interest Related To Specialty Metals

  • Tech Explorist: How Metals Are Formed
  • DOD Has Pedal To The Metal On HyperSonics
  • Metal AM: Sandvik Additively Manufactures Titanium Motor Nodes For E-bikes
  • Med-Tech Innovation Infographic: Titanium In Medtech Applications and Benefits
  • Reuters: Russian Supplier of Titanium For Boeing And Airbus May Suspect Output In September