Friday, December 18, 2009

read any good books lately?

I'm looking ahead to next term, when some of my Organic students will once again need to write a term paper. Last term's topic was Green Chemistry and the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge awards.

For the past few years I have had students read Carl Djerassi's autobiography, The Pill, Pygmy Chimps and Degas' Horse, but for a variety of reasons I may not assign it this year. The problem is finding another book that fits the bill: I need something that is ideally focused on organic or synthetic chemistry, I need something that is a narrative of sorts (not a text), and I want a book that brings up things that don't get brought up in class. These are reasons I have enjoyed assigning Djerassi's book. It's a great window into the life of a synthetic organic chemist.

I'm running up to the library tomorrow to pick up a copy of a book called the Carbon Age by Eric Roston, which sounds like it has some potential. But I'm looking for other possibilities. Have you read anything good? Is it about Chemistry? I'd be delighted to hear your suggestions--or warnings about books that wouldn't be suitable.


LeeBee said...

Hi, found your blog through a "green chemistry" google alert I have sent to me. I have read the book "Napoleon's Buttons, 17 molecules that changed history" by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson, which I enjoyed. Also on a darker but related note "Our Stolen Future" by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peter Meyers is an enjoyable read and good introduction to the science behind endocrine disrupting chemicals.

AlexRayner said...
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carol said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Lee. I'm also thinking I'll pick up a copy of a book called "The Billion Dollar Molecule," which may work.