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Periodic tales

Just finished Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersey Williams. If you like chemistry you will love this book. He gives you background and discovery on most of the elements. A lot of good info on elements atomic number 92 and up especially. Its well done and intriguing.

What did I learn:

1. Smoke alarms use Americium (which is a byproduct of nuclear reactors, 95 protons) to give off alpha particles. These radioactive particles are used to complete an electric circuit. When smoke passes through it breaks the circuit and the alarm is set off. Furthermore smoke alarms are the only consumer product dependent on a man-made element.

2. Uranium (92 protons) is named after the planet Uranus. When they discovered the elements with 93 and 94 protons they kept the planet nomenclature going. Neptunium (93 protons) is named for Neptune while Plutonium (94 protons) was named for Pluto.

3. Marie Curie (see pic) is the first female and part of the first married couple to win a Nobel prize (1903). She was the first woman to earn a PhD from a French university. She is the first person to win two Nobel prizes (physics and chemistry). She helped discover radium and polonium. Her daughter also was a physicist and is a Nobel laureate. Note: they both died of blood diseases related to their work.


All warfare is based on deception.

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