The Disappearing spoon
After reading the disappearing spoon, please respond to one of the below questions in detail. These questions are taken from Sam Kean’s “Questions and Topics for Discussion”. Post your response in the appropriate sub-thread. Your response needs to be 1-2 pages long, or approximately 700-900 words. Consider the question and articulate your response thoroughly.
- What was the most surprising fact you learned from reading The Disappearing Spoon? Were there any elements or scientists you thought you knew a lot about, but then discovered you didn’t?
- American science was often viewed as second-rate compared to Europe in the 1800s. What enabled U.S. science to become so powerful in the twentieth century?
- Does Mendeleev deserve the credit he gets for “discovering” the periodic table, even though other scientists had the same idea before him?
- Sam Kean details numerous prizes awarded to scientists for their discoveries. What do you think are the benefits of awarding prizes for scientific breakthroughs? Can there be drawbacks?
- The Disappearing Spoon shines a light on many female scientists who have made significant contributions in scientific history. What role do you think their gender played in their work? Or do you think that these scientists’ gender was irrelevant?
- Why did it take scientists so long to discover what a chemical element really was? Why were scientists so surprised when they discovered they could make chemical compounds from noble gases?
- How did reading The Disappearing Spoon change your ideas about the day-to-day life of scientists and the work they do?
- Did you discover any new heroes while reading this book? Was there anyone you thought came across as a villain? Was there anyone whose motivations surprised you?
- Sam Kean makes connections to many areas of science, nature, and life that normally aren’t discussed in association of the periodic table. What connections most surprised you?
- Were you surprised at how dangerous some of the elements on the periodic table are, considering that they exist within nature?
- Now that you have read The Disappearing Spoon, what is your favorite element? Why?
There are 50 points possible. 30 points max can be earned for posting your answer, with 10 points each for responding to the work of two of your peers. Your grade will be based on the quality of your work: how well you address the question, originality of thought, and creativity of response. Point out where you found the logic of your peers to be compelling and where you think you would have chosen a different answer.
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