Creative Chemistry

Edwin E. Slosson (1865 - 1929)

Slosson reviews the transformation of alchemistry from an obscure and imprecise practice to the science of chemistry. Along the way, he explains how the modern industrial world now relies on fertilizers, explosives, textile materials, polymers and metals.

By exploring the properties of a once undervalued element, the high strength of vanadium steel made the Ford car possible. Another element, cerium, appears in butane lighters and was once seen as a threat to the match industry in France.

In his chapter on oils, Slosson reviews the development of hydrogenated oils, especially during WWII, in the search for a way to reuse otherwise discarded components of corn and cottonseed. Through the revolutionary reaction of hydrogenation, waste materials became a stable product that wouldn't spoil when packaged or carried without refrigeration. Once thought of as a miracle, shoppers were once willing to pay more for fully hydrogenated oils than their natural, unsaturated forms. Only in recent years has evidence of health risks checked their popularity and given them the image of cheap, unhealthy fillers. (Summary by LivelyHive)

Genre(s): *Non-fiction, Chemistry

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 introduction LivelyHive
Play 01 Ch 1. Three Periods of Progress LivelyHive
Play 02 Ch. 2 Nitrogen LivelyHive
Play 03 Ch. 3 Feeding The Soil LivelyHive
Play 04 Ch. 4 Coal-Tar Colors, part 1/2 LivelyHive
Play 05 Ch. 4 Coal-Tar Colors, part 2/2 LivelyHive
Play 06 Ch. 5 Synthetic Perfumes And Flavors LivelyHive
Play 07 Ch. 6 Cellulose LivelyHive
Play 08 Ch. 7 Synthetic Plastics LivelyHive
Play 09 Ch. 8 The Race For Rubber LivelyHive
Play 10 Ch. 9 The Rival Sugars LivelyHive
Play 11 Ch. 10 What Comes From Corn LivelyHive
Play 12 Ch. 11 Solidified Sunshine LivelyHive
Play 13 Ch. 12 Fighting With Fumes LivelyHive
Play 14 Ch. 13 Products Of The Electric Furnace LivelyHive
Play 15 Ch. 14 Metals, Old And New part 1/2 LivelyHive
Play 16 Ch. 14 Metals, Old And New part 2/2 LivelyHive