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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.
David E. Fisher is Professor Emeritus of Geological Science at The University of Miami. He is the author of nine novels and fourteen works of non-fiction.
Table of Contents
Philosophy and Apology
In the Beginning
Argon and the Rest
Helium and the Age of the Earth
The Strange Case of Helium and the Nuclear Atom
Interlude: Helium, Argon, and Creationism
Meanwhile, Back at Brookhaven
Cornell, the Ten-Minute Experiment, and Back to Argon
K/Ar and the Irons
Interlude: The Spreading Oceans
Dating the Spreading Seafloor
The Argon Surprise
Primvordial Helium and Argon and the Evolution of the Earth
The Coldest Place on Earth
Back to the Stars
The Neutrino Revolution
Life and Death on Mars and Earth
Radon and You
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.