Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press, USA
Much Ado About (Practically) Nothing: A History of the Noble Gases

Much Ado About (Practically) Nothing: A History of the Noble Gases

by David Fisher
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There are eight columns in the Periodic Table. The eighth column is comprised of the rare gases, so-called because they are the rarest elements on earth. They are also called the inert or noble gases because, like nobility, they do no work. They are colorless, odorless, invisible gases which do not react with anything, and were thought to be unimportant until the early 1960s. Starting in that era, David Fisher has spent roughly fifty years doing research on these gases, publishing nearly a hundred papers in the scientific journals, applying them to problems in geophysics and cosmochemistry, and learning how other scientists have utilized them to change our ideas about the universe, the sun, and our own planet.

Much Ado about (Practically) Nothing will cover this spectrum of ideas, interspersed with the author's own work which will serve to introduce each gas and the important work others have done with them. The rare gases have participated in a wide range of scientific advances-even revolutions-but no book has ever recorded the entire story. Fisher will range from the intricacies of the atomic nucleus and the tiniest of elementary particles, the neutrino, to the energy source of the stars; from the age of the earth to its future energies; from life on Mars to cancer here on earth. A whole panoply that has never before been told as an entity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195393965
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 09/22/2010
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

David E. Fisher is Professor Emeritus of Geological Science at The University of Miami. He is the author of nine novels and fourteen works of non-fiction.

Table of Contents

1. In the Beginning
2. Helium
3. Argon
4. Helium and the Age of the Earth
5. Helium and the Nuclear Atom
6. Interlude: Helium, Argon, and Creationism
7. Brookhaven and Meteorites
8. Interlude: Cornell
9. K/Ar and the Irons
10. Interlude: The Spreading Sea Floor
11. Miami: Measuring the Spreading Sea Floor
12. The Argon Surprise
13. Primordial gases: Evolution of the Earth
14. Krypton
15. Xenon and the Primordial Gases: Evolution of the Solar System
16. Back on Earth: Tommy Gold and Fossil Fuels
17. Back to the Stars: Fritz Houtermanns, and How Do Stars Burn
18. And on to the Cosmos: Ray Davis, Argon, and the Neutrino Kerfluffle
19. Life on Mars!
20. From the Sublime to the Serious: Radon
21. L'Envoi, or How Science Works: A Morality Tale

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