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Much Ado about (Practically) Nothing : A History of the Noble Gases

ISBN: 9780195393965 | 0195393961
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Pub. Date: 9/16/2010

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The six noble gases--so-called because, like the nobility, they do no work--are the rarest elements on Earth. Comprising helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radon, they are colorless, odorless, invisible gases that do not react with anything and were thought to be unimportant until the early 1960s. Even though research on the noble gases has since resulted in a wide range of scientific advances--even revolutions--this is the first book ever to tell the entire story. David E. Fisher, who has spent fifty years doing research on these gases, interweaves his own work with the breakthroughs of other eminent scientists to show how the noble gases have changed our ideas about the universe, the sun, and our own planet. Fisher, who is also an accomplished novelist, offers a lively account that ranges from the intricacies of the atomic nucleus and the tiniest of elementary particles, the neutrino, to the energy source of the stars; from the age of the earth to its future energies; and from life on Mars to cancer here on earth.


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