The title Exploring Chemistry explains the goals of Gallant’s book, and he explores chemistry in a quite enjoyable fashion. First, some of the values of this field to modern (1950’s) society are closely scrutinized. Then, Gallant elaborates on the development of the science of chemistry over the centuries, in ever-accelerating fits and starts. Much is made of the need for both precise thinking and extensive physical experimentation by chemists. In that light, Gallant shows that the beginnings of modern chemistry were not possible until the seventeenth century, when technology reached a minimum state required for further progress. Nevertheless, the contributions of natural philosophers of antiquity, who were hampered by lack of technology, and of alchemists, who sought mostly to make gold, are also shown to be very important.
The description of the fascinating nature of chemistry is aided by the many illustrations that were conceived by Gallant’s artist-collaborator, Lee Ames. Gallant identifies the known elements and describes the discovery of new ones, defines the subatomic particles that make up the atoms of the myriad different kinds of matter, and conceptualizes the needs of society for foods and for many other items. The profession of chemistry is thus shown to be being quite rewarding and very enticing.
Another exciting aspect of the book comes from its many predictions about the future of chemistry, from the perspective...
(The entire section is 342 words.)
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