Every Molecule Tells a Story: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Every Molecule Tells a Story

1st Edition

By Simon Cotton

Chapman and Hall/CRC

280 pages | 369 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2011-11-16
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Description

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.

Reviews

"I find that I lack the time and self-discipline to read a factual book from cover to cover, but I love books that I can dip into and read short, self-contained articles. Every molecule tells a story by chemistry lecturer and science writer Simon Cotton is one such book. … Simon introduces his molecular collection by explaining the relevance of chemistry in our everyday lives. … find the pretty comprehensive bibliography at the end of the book really useful, especially as it is divided up using the same molecular headings as the main text. It forms a handy way into the literature covering the wide-ranging topics."

—Anne Hodgson, Chemistry Review

"… this is an excellent and attractively priced book which should be in the possession of all who teach chemistry so that they may dip into it and use the information to enliven what may appear to be rather dry material of doubtful practical usefulness."

—Edward R. Adlard, Chromatographia (2012) 75:809–810

"It will most likely be used as a go-to reference or a source of interesting tidbits by someone looking for basic information about a specific molecule, or by someone browsing for any interesting facts without a specific molecule in mind. … Specifics about synthesis and reactivity will be useful to chemistry-savvy readers, while historical background and pop-culture references will be accessible to all.

Ultimately, if you are someone who tries to entertain and catch the interest of students with quirky stories of molecules, then this book would be a wonderful addition to your bookshelf. If you assign your students the task of writing reports about molecules, this book will earn its keep in your institution’s library as a reference of first resort."

—Scott Smidt, Laramie County Community College, Albany County Campus, Journal of Chemical Education, 2013

"Every Molecule Tells a Story consists of 14 chapters, beginning with the atmosphere and its gases, and ending with synthetic polymers, where you learn of the nylon riots when women fought to obtain stockings made from the new fibre. There are chapters devoted to steroids and sex, the human senses, cosmetics and perfumes, poisons both natural and man-made, pleasure molecules, and healing drugs both natural and man-made…The book is targeted at students of chemistry, who are already familiar with the language of our Science, and for this reason it includes a lot of chemistry and molecular detail. Sadly, this will deter readers who are non-chemists but might well enjoy the tales Cotton has to tell. Were they to read his book, they would appreciate how all pervading our science is, and understand better its role in the modern world."

Chemistry & Industry Magazine, Issue 5, 2012

"Not as formal as a textbook, comprehensive as a reference, or accessible as a popular science book, this work serves nevertheless as worthwhile enrichment for chemistry students and a challenging advanced introduction for general readers. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries."

—E. J. Chang, York College, in CHOICE, June 2012

"…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

Table of Contents

Atmosphere and Water

Nitrogen (Dinitrogen, N2)

Oxygen (Dioxygen, O2)

Ozone (Trixoygen, O3)

Carbon Dioxide, CO2

Noble Gases

Water

Deuterium Oxide (Heavy Water)

Hydrogen Peroxide

Carbohydrates and Artificial Sweeteners

Introduction

Trehalose

Polysaccharides

Hydrocarbons

Acids and Alkalis

Acids

Alkalis

Steroids and Sex

Introduction

Testosterone

Man-Made Anabolic Steroids

Contraception

The Senses

Carotene and Vision

Taste

Smell

Chiral Molecules and Smell

Pyrazines and Smell

Pheromones

Human Pheromones?

Cosmetics and Perfumes

Shampoo

Hair Colouring and Waving

Nail Varnish

Face Powder

Lipstick

Mascara and Eye Shadow

Sunscreen and Tanning

Toothpaste

Bad Breath and Mouthwash

Body Odours and Deodorants

Perfumes

Natural Killers

Curare

Frog Venoms

Tetrodotoxin

Cone Snail Venoms (Conotoxins)

Spider Venoms

Scorpion Venoms

Snake Venoms

Strychnine

Unnatural Killers

Dimethylmercury

Tetraethyllead

Nerve Agents

CS and Mustard Gas

Mustard Gas

Thalidomide

Explosives

Detecting Explosives

Pleasure Molecules

Phenylethylamine

Amphetamine

Methamphetamine

Ecstasy

Ritalin (Methylphenidate).

Caffeine

Cocaine

Designer Drugs

Ethanol

LSD

Nicotine

Natural Healers

Galantamine

Opium and Morphine

Heroin

Penicillin

Quinine and Antimalarials

Taxol (Paclitaxel)

Tetracycline

Vancomycin

Vinca Alkaloids

Man-Made Healers

Aspirin

Ibuprofen

Phenacetin

Acetanilide

Acetaminophen

Acyclovir

Beta-Blockers and Atenolol

Azidothymidine.

Cisplatin and Other Platinum Anticancer Drugs

Linezolid

Antidepressants

Antiulcer Drugs

Sulphanilamide and the Sulphonamides

Antiflu Drugs

Synthetic Polymers

Polythene (or Polyethylene)

Polyvinyl Chloride, Poly(chloroethene)

Teflon, Poly(tetrafluoroethene), PTFE

Polystyrene (Poly(phenylethene))

Poly(methyl cyanoacrylate)

Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)

Nylon

Terylene

Kevlar

Polyurethane

Bibliography

Index

About the Author

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.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MED008000
MEDICAL / Biochemistry
SCI013000
SCIENCE / Chemistry / General
SCI013040
SCIENCE / Chemistry / Organic