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Libri di Marco Malvaldi

The Architect of the Invisible

Or how does a chemist think

di Marco Malvaldi

publisher: Raffaello Cortina Editore

pages: 220

What is the difference between heat and temperature? If you put your hand in an oven at 180 degrees or on a frying pan at the same temperature, it will be immediately clear to you. And why is it possible to read a newspaper if the combustion of paper is an energetically-favoured reaction? The reason is that, although the outcome is known, the speed of reaction to ordinary temperatures is very slow. Welcome to the fabulous world of chemistry where, with a wonderful storyteller like Marco Malvaldi, you will enjoy finding out what a molecule is, why the properties of an atom in a molecule change and why a molecule changes according to different environments. All this through analogies taken from economy and literature. But you will also understand why water is unique and why steel is supple. It will be clear to you that we should not be afraid of synthetic pesticides and that homeopathy is nonsense. Chemistry is this, it is the most efficient description of nature’s behaviour. So why does a chemist define himself as an architect? Because, while he/she considers strictly physical properties (such as charges and masses), he/she also considers aesthetic qualities (such as symmetry and colour). A chemist thinks in terms of numbers, but also in terms of beauty.

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