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“The Chemistry Book” Is Available

I wanted to let everyone know that my first venture into between-hard-covers authorship, The Chemistry Book, is now set to be released in early February, and it’s available to pre-order on Amazon.  This, like the other books in the series (such as The Physics Book, by Clifford Pickover) is a survey of 250 events, concepts, and discoveries in the field, from prehistory to today. The only problem was that there could easily be 250 more entries!

The choice of topics was up to me, and I certainly incorporated some of the suggestions made here. Some of them I already had on the list when that post was written, and I was glad to see them confirmed, while others sent me off into some areas that I hadn’t known about at all. And while I certainly enjoyed writing it; I can see where doing that for a living might get wearing after a while. (Says the guy who posts 3000 words a week on his blog for free. . .!)

I believe that you can look inside it at some of the pages – the format of the series is a short essay and a full-page illustration per entry. I can tell you, some of the illustration choices were challenging, but I think everything came out well. Fame and fortune! Surely everyone must know thirty or forty people who don’t know enough about chemistry, right?

31 comments on ““The Chemistry Book” Is Available”

  1. oldnuke says:

    I’ve had a copy on order since June. And having been out of the field for 40 years, I am in dire need. 🙂

    (employment in chem sucked then too!)

  2. Mad Scientist says:

    I’ll buy a copy, and even treat you to lunch if you autograph it for me!

  3. pc says:

    Big fan of your blog since the early days when you maybe only had a handful of comments for most entries. Will definitely order one. Can’t wait.

  4. Phil says:

    Just submitted my pre-order. I don’t think I’ve ever spent less time deliberating about whether a book purchase was worthwhile.

  5. earth23 says:

    Pre-ordered and looking forward to an excellent mid-winter read. Thanks Derek!

  6. Isidore says:

    I pre-ordered it. I hope that at least some of it is also at a level suitable for my son, a high school junior with an interest in (and apparently also aptitude for) chemistry.

  7. Derek Lowe says:

    It should be OK for a wide readership – I cover a lot of topics, but in what I hope is an accessible way. There are a lot of suggestions in the back of the book (both web sites and book recommendations) for further reading on most of the entries as well.

  8. Jeff says:

    Ordered and looking forward to it! Your columns have been fascinating me for a few years now, even though I’ve forgotten a LOT of chemistry. My level has dropped to early undergrad level since I teach secondary school Chemistry these days.
    BTW My pre-order is via as there’s no Amazon in the Netherlands, but at some stage you should get the appropriate pecuniary feedback 🙂

  9. MoMo says:

    Order placed! Even bought a copy to send to the Food Babe, assuming she can read.

    These math problems are hard!

  10. Chris Dockendorff says:

    Congratulations Derek! Really impressed that you had the time to pull this off with all of your other commitments and interests. The choice of topics and the compelling photos will make for a far better coffee table experience for most of my guests than the Classics in Total Synthesis sitting there now…

  11. Jim Hartley says:

    I’ll let Santa know what would be welcome in my stocking.

  12. Jim Hartley says:

    Derek, is there a different way to buy the book that would end up profiting you more and Amazon less?

  13. Thomas WIlliamson says:

    Ordered mine

  14. For us geographically challenged, is there any kindle edition planned to save on shipping?

  15. tally ho says:

    Congratulations Derek – looks like a fun read! Glad to see thermite on the roster (have you tried it with manganese dioxide?) and a tip of the hat to polywater. Will cold fusion be in the second edition?

  16. Ash (Wavefunction) says:

    Congratulations Derek! The preview looks great and I very much look forward to reading it. Pre-ordered.

  17. Creelhe says:

    It looks nice, the pictures are impressive. My parents bought me and my siblings a volume of encyclopaedias (World Book, I believe), and they provided endless entertainment and education. I was instantly reminded of this feeling when I had a quick glance at the preview on Amazon for your book – I would immediately order one for my child (if I had one), but I wouldn’t mind getting one to flick through myself. If nothing else, this would be great coffee table literature.

  18. Esteban says:

    Look at it this way, at worst you will have merged your talent for writing and drug hunting through creation of an insomnia treatment. I’m expecting a fail in the latter though and look forward to picking up a copy.

  19. metaphysician says:

    Sadly, I’ve already gotten my Christmas shopping finished. . . but hey, there’s usually a couple gift cards free after the holidays. Definitely going to be buying a copy.

  20. Sam Adams the Dog says:

    I never would have guessed that the Soxhlet extractor was invented before the Dean-Stark trap. Either way, I consider the Soxhlet extractor a thing of beauty.The Dean-Stark trap, in contrast, is merely useful.

  21. Anonymous Researcher snaw says:

    Cool! When’s your Things I Won’t Work With book coming out?

  22. Brent Michael Krupp says:

    Just pre-ordered mine!

    Any chance you can arrange to produce signed bookplates for your loyal pre-ordering fans? When’s the book tour?

  23. anoano says:

    Already number 1 in Hot New Releases in Chemistry!
    However £25 in UK compared to $20 in US (that’s the not the right way…). Still, it is nice that it is an affordable book.

  24. UKPI says:

    Great! Ordered a copy. £25 on Amazon UK is still very reasonable for what the TOC promises.

  25. Andre says:

    I just browsed through the book online. Just amazing with beautiful illustrations. Makes for a great Xmas present for my two science minded daughters.

    Derek, I do not know when you found the time to pull this off, besides all of your other duties at Vertex, the blog, and the family. Is there a firm release date for the book?

  26. Howard Roerig says:

    Congratulations! Having recently retired, I have more time to whittle away at my “someday” reading list and am looking forward to this worthwhile addition. I’ve enjoyed your blog for many years, and you have added greatly to my high school chemistry+adult reading education. Thanks for all of your efforts, and I second that request for a “Things I Won’t Work With” book!

  27. Seb says:

    Awesome, congrats! I’ll make sure to get my copy!

    Also, I just noticed than the biographical info that appears on Amazon still refers to the old address of the blog…

  28. Longtime Lurker says:

    Congratulations! Ordered one, would be awesome if you could sign it.

  29. TheMadLibrarian says:

    This book (and all the other “The _________ Book”s) looks like a very good introduction to topics our public would find interesting. Passed along to the book ordering department.

  30. Ted says:



  31. Isidore says:

    The “Chemistry Book” was delivered to my home yesterday. Looks very interesting, both visually and with regard to content. My high school junior son, who’s difficult to impress, also though it was worth reading. Congratulations on the fruits of what I am sure was a great deal of work!

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