The Periodic Table

The Periodic Table

Book - 1995
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Primo Levi's memoir of his Jewish family, life as a Jew, and being a chemist.
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 1995
ISBN: 9780679444633
Branch Call Number: ANF 858.914 LEV
Characteristics: xxv, 241 pages ; 21 cm

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marydave
Mar 31, 2016

Amazing look into the heart and mind of a truly great human being. Why did I wait 20 years to read this? Maybe I thought it would be too heavily scientific; if so, I was wrong ....

It's instructive to compare the first chapter, Argon, with the last, Carbon. The first element is totally isolated, the last highly interactive, especially with itself. The book is a movement from isolation to engagement and wide activity. It ends with Primo's disappearance into the "all" of the world and its scientific laws.

An interesting all consuming mix of chemistry & life. An insight into how a scientist views life.

l
lukasevansherman
Jan 25, 2014

"Fascism had had its effect on us, as on almost all Italians, alienating us and making us superficial, passive, and cynical."
Italian writer and chemist Primo Levi is probably best known for his memoirs about his time in Auschwitz ("The Drowned and the Saved," "Survival in Auschwitz") and this too is autobiographical, but is more focused on his chemistry work. Each piece is named after an element (hence the title) such as Argon or Gold. Sadly, Levi committed suicide in 1987.

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