Sam Kean is a writer in Washington, D.C. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, Psychology Today, and The New Scientist. He has also published three books which discuss scientific discoveries in a narrative style. His books received positive reviews in the Wall Street Journal Library Journal, and The New York Times. He was born in Sioux Falls, SD
The Disappearing Spoon, also known by its full title of The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements, is a 2010 book by science reporter Sam Kean. The book focuses on the history of the periodic table by way of stories showing how each element affected the people who discovered the elements, for either good or bad. People discussed in the book includes those such as scientist Marie Curie, whose discovery of radium almost ruined her career, and the writer Mark Twain, whose short story “Sold to Satan” featured a devil who was made of radium and wore a suit made of polonium. Also discussed is Maria Goeppert-Mayer, a German-born American theoretical physicist who earned a Nobel Prize in Physics for her groundbreaking work, yet continually faced opposition due to her gender.