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

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 9/16/2010
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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The six noble gases--so-called because, like the nobility, they do no work--are the rarest elements on Earth. Comprising helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radon, they are colorless, odorless, invisible gases that do not react with anything and were thought to be unimportant until the early 1960s. Even though research on the noble gases has since resulted in a wide range of scientific advances--even revolutions--this is the first book ever to tell the entire story. David E. Fisher, who has spent fifty years doing research on these gases, interweaves his own work with the breakthroughs of other eminent scientists to show how the noble gases have changed our ideas about the universe, the sun, and our own planet. Fisher, who is also an accomplished novelist, offers a lively account that ranges 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; and from life on Mars to cancer here on earth.

Author Biography

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

Philosophy and Apologyp. 1
In the Beginningp. 4
Heliump. 9
Argon and the Restp. 18
Helium and the Age of the Earthp. 33
The Strange Case of Helium and the Nuclear Atomp. 48
Interlude: Helium, Argon, and Creationismp. 59
Meanwhile, Back at Brookhavenp. 66
Cornell, the Ten-Minute Experiment, and Back to Argonp. 77
K/Ar and the Ironsp. 90
Interlude: The Spreading Oceansp. 100
Dating the Spreading Seafloorp. 112
The Argon Surprisep. 124
Primvordial Helium and Argon and the Evolution of the Earthp. 136
Xenologyp. 144
The Coldest Place on Earthp. 158
Back to the Starsp. 178
The Neutrino Revolutionp. 193
Life and Death on Mars and Earthp. 209
Radon and Youp. 229
L'Envoip. 241
Notesp. 245
Indexp. 261
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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