A Chemical History of a Candle by Michael Faraday
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
You know when you get that burning idea that says, "Oh, Lordy, I wish I had been there for those science lectures?"
Well, HERE YOU GO.
Honestly, though, this is 1861 with the actual Michael Faraday of the Faraday cages for dispersing EM currents, although he doesn't go into any of that here. These classroom lectures DO come with some really great chemical breakdowns of everything surrounding a candle all the way to some really cool metallurgy experiments, from combustion to purification, all the way to platinum.
I was particularly impressed with the means and methods he shows us how to determine the weight of elements and how to determine so much more. It's all perfectly understandable building blocks but putting them all together in this way is damn creative and fascinating. I mean, It's SCIENCE, Baby!
Never mind the oldschool measurement systems, it's still clear and everything is fairly easily convertible. I keep thinking that this would be a fantastic book to have with us if we should ever fall into another dark age. It's a perfect stepping stone to regaining lost knowledge once we slip back into the bronze age. It even gives us chemical batteries, explosives, and suction cups! All the things we absolutely need in the bathroom! :)
It's not quite as delightful a science text as some of our more modern authors, but street cred and great explanations go a LONG way. I totally recommend this for chemistry nerds.
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