Below you will find some more information about the books the student’s based their exhibits on. You will find a summary of each book and a link to the authors site (if available).
A is for Arsenic : The Poisons of Agatha Christie
Author: Kathryn Markup
Fourteen novels. Fourteen poisons. Just because it’s fiction doesn’t mean it’s all made-up…
In A is for Arsenic Kathryn Harkup explores the poisons used by Agatha Christie in her novels. Christie used poison to kill her characters more often than any other crime fiction writer. The poison was a central part of the novel, and her choice of deadly substances was far far from random; the chemical and physiological characteristics of each poison provide vital clues to the discovery of the murderer.
Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything
Author: Randi Hutter Epstein
A guided tour through the strange science of hormones and the age-old quest to control them. Metabolism, behavior, sleep, mood swings, the immune system, fighting, fleeing, puberty, and sex: these are just a few of the things our bodies control with hormones. Armed with a healthy dose of wit and curiosity, Randi Hutter Epstein takes us on a journey through the unusual history of these potent chemicals and their discovery, from the London laboratory where the concept of hormones was identified to a basement filled with jarred brains to a canine sex lab. We meet leading scientists who made life-changing discoveries about the hormone imbalances that ail us, as well as charlatans who used those discoveries to peddle false remedies. Along the way, Epstein examines the functions of hormones such as leptin, oxytocin, estrogen, and testosterone, demystifying the science of endocrinology.
A fascinating exploration of the history and science of one of medicine’s most important discoveries, Aroused reveals how hormones can both push us to the edge and reel us back.
Author: Ben Goldacre
Since 2003 Dr Ben Goldacre has been exposing dodgy medical data in his popular Guardian column. In this eye-opening book he takes on the MMR hoax and misleading cosmetics ads, acupuncture and homeopathy, vitamins and mankind’s vexed relationship with all manner of ‘toxins’. Along the way, the self-confessed ‘Johnny Ball cum Witchfinder General’ performs a successful detox on a Barbie doll, sees his dead cat become a certified nutritionist and probes the supposed medical qualifications of ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith.
Full spleen and satire, Ben Goldacre takes us on a hilarious, invigorating and ultimately alarming journey through the bad science we are fed daily by hacks and quacks.
Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor
Author: Herv’ This
Herv’ This (pronounced “Teess”) is an internationally renowned chemist, a popular French television personality, a bestselling cookbook author, a longtime collaborator with the famed French chef Pierre Gagnaire, and the only person to hold a doctorate in molecular gastronomy, a cutting-edge field he pioneered. Bringing the instruments and experimental techniques of the laboratory into the kitchen, This uses recent research in the chemistry, physics, and biology of food to challenge traditional ideas about cooking and eating. What he discovers will entertain, instruct, and intrigue cooks, gourmets, and scientists alike.
Molecular Gastronomy, This’s first work to appear in English, is filled with practical tips, provocative suggestions, and penetrating insights. This begins by reexamining and debunking a variety of time-honored rules and dictums about cooking and presents new and improved ways of preparing a variety of dishes from quiches and quenelles to steak and hard-boiled eggs. He goes on to discuss the physiology of flavor and explores how the brain perceives tastes, how chewing affects food, and how the tongue reacts to various stimuli. Examining the molecular properties of bread, ham, foie gras, and champagne, the book analyzes what happens as they are baked, cured, cooked, and chilled.
Looking to the future, Herv’ This imagines new cooking methods and proposes novel dishes. A chocolate mousse without eggs? A flourless chocolate cake baked in the microwave? Molecular Gastronomy explains how to make them. This also shows us how to cook perfect French fries, why a souffl’ rises and falls, how long to cool champagne, when to season a steak, the right way to cook pasta, how the shape of a wine glass affects the taste of wine, why chocolate turns white, and how salt modifies tastes.
The Disappearing Spoon
Author: Sam Kean
Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie’s reputation? And why is gallium (Ga, 31) the go-to element for laboratory pranksters?*
The Periodic Table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it’s also a treasure trove of adventure, betrayal, and obsession. These fascinating tales follow every element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, and in the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. THE DISAPPEARING SPOON masterfully fuses science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, and discovery–from the Big Bang through the end of time.
*Though solid at room temperature, gallium is a moldable metal that melts at 84 degrees Fahrenheit. A classic science prank is to mold gallium spoons, serve them with tea, and watch guests recoil as their utensils disappear.
The Poisoner’s Handbook:Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz age New York
Author: Deborah Blum
The Poisoner’s Handbook is the widely praised, riveting story of two unsung heroes of Jazz-Age New York, a pair of scientists fighting both to catch killers and create the science of forensic detection. A national best-seller, named by Amazon as one of the top 100 books of 2010, the book has been optioned by PBS and translated into numerous other languages.
As the Penguin Press catalogue says: “Deborah Blum, writing with the high style and skill for suspense that is characteristic of the very best mystery fiction, shares the untold story of how poison rocked Jazz Age New York City. In The Poisoner’s Handbook, Blum draws from highly original research to track the fascinating, perilous days when a pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime.”
The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, Penguin Press, February 18, 2010
Drama unfolds case by case as the heroes of The Poisoner’s Handbook – chief medical examiner Charles Norris and toxicologist Alexander Gettler – investigate a family mysteriously stricken bald, Barnum and Bailey’s Famous Blue Man, factory workers with crumbling bones, a diner serving poisoned pies, and many others.