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Nicolas Leblanc,in the late s,invented a process for making "white gold" that put cheap soap within the reach of everyone. Henry Perkin,in the mids,turned black coal tar into a beautiful and inexpensive purple dye,democratizing color and blanketing the world in "Mauve Mania. The author tells the stories of these scientists with passion,wit,and drama,taking the reader back through revolution-torn France and the slave-owning American South to the gas-guzzling s and the environmental breakthroughs of the s.

With an even hand,McGrayne also explores the effect these chemists and their innovations wrought on the environment and on public health.

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Rigorously researched,often from original diaries and letters, Prometheans in the Lab dramatizes thetangled relationship between technology's benefits and drawbacks. Fritz Haber,for example,personifies the moral dilemma between duty to one's country and to humanity; his nitrogen fixation process feeds millions but his poison gas prolonged World War I.


  1. Hans Jonas und das Prinzip Verantwortung. Hilft uns die Zukunftsethik von Hans Jonas heute noch weiter? (German Edition).
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  3. Holdings: Prometheans un the lab :.

Thomas Midgley's Freon made safe refrigeration one of the foundations of modern preventive medicine but gauged a hole in Earth's protective ozone layer. Here is a fascinating account of how scientific discoveries are made and how those discoveries can change the world irrevocably for good and bad.

Book Prometheans In The Lab: Chemistry And The Making Of The Modern World

The story of chemistry's revolutionaries and the discoveries that changed our everyday world. Chemistry's products become part of our everyday lives and are profoundly intertwined with society's tastes,needs,and desires. Soap,sugar,colorful dyes,clean water,safe refrigeration,and powerful cars how many of us would choose to live without them?

We take them for granted,yet behind every chemical product is the fascinating story of a scientist and a breakthrough discovery. Acclaimed science writer Sharon Bertsch McGrayne tells the history of the chemical revolution through the lives of the people who created it,taking the reader on a whirlwind tour of history through epidemics,wars,and revolutions and through scandal,scientific intrigues,moral dilemmas,and personal tragedies.

Chemistry Lab Tour and Experiments

With an even hand,McGrayne explores not only the upside of each pivotal discovery,but also their sometimes devastating effects on the environment and public health. Here is a lucid and enlightening account of influential chemical discoveries,the people who discovered them,and how they helped to shape the modern world for better. They are indeed Prometheans who made our modern world.

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See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. Tags Science , Memoir. Description Newton, Darwin, Pasteur, Einstein and other great physicists and biologists are household names, but the great chemists have received little recognition.


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    • Prometheans in the Lab: Chemistry and the Making of the Modern World.
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    • In the final chapter, we find a hero in Clair C. Patterson, whose work led famed novelist Saul Bellow to nominate him for the Nobel Prize. We are brought to appreciate the social contexts in which these men worked. The stories present the complexities of attempting that which benefits us at risk of damaging us too. That could, however, detract from the narratives she chose to tell, narratives which interested and surprised me. These stories make Prometheans in the Lab a fine contribution among books discussing chemistry. Subjects Chemistry, Technical History.

      Chemists Biography.

      Book Prometheans In The Lab: Chemistry And The Making Of The Modern World 2001

      Awards Washington State Book Award. Language English. Barcode