80 episodes

Meet the authors of the latest popular science books, and join Chemistry World for a review and discussion of the topics the book raises. Join in on twitter by using #bookclubCW

Chemistry World Book Club Chemistry World

    • Science
    • 3.0 • 4 Ratings

Meet the authors of the latest popular science books, and join Chemistry World for a review and discussion of the topics the book raises. Join in on twitter by using #bookclubCW

    A Taste for Poison

    A Taste for Poison

    If you really want to develop an appreciation for those early pathologists who went so far as to taste-tested truly horrible samples from corpses to establish a system for detecting poisons, read a new book by US-based physiology and biophysics professor Neil Bradbury. We discuss Eleven Deadly Molecules and the Killers who used them: A Taste for Poison in our final episode of the Chemistry World Book Club podcast series. Combining chemistry and biology with true crime, this book is ripped from news headlines and is also based on historical records. Bradbury recounts for us his life-long fascination with science as well as murder mysteries, and how he long-dreamed of using his biochemistry training to write a book delving into process by which various poisons kill a person – what these compounds actually do inside the body. He also discusses narrowing down the book’s scope to the 11 poisons and related murders that are featured. After almost seven years, Chemistry World is moving on from the Book Club podcast. We truly thank all of you who read along and listened, as well as those reviewers and authors who participated and made the podcast great. But we have an exciting new monthly podcast in the works, so please follow Chemistry World on Twitter or on Facebook to be the first to hear about it.

    • 18 min
    Book club – Fresh Banana Leaves by Jessica Hernandez

    Book club – Fresh Banana Leaves by Jessica Hernandez

    Indigenous communities are among the most affected by climate change, yet their work and knowledge has long been dismissed as unscientific. In her first book Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science, Maya Ch’orti’ and Zapotec environmental scientist Jessica Hernandez recounts case studies, personal stories and family histories that focus on the knowledge of Indigenous Latin American women and land protectors. Hernandez’s book envisions a future in which Indigenous people are given autonomy over their lands and are treated as prominent leaders in the fight for environmental justice and against climate change.
    We talk about the failures of western conservation approaches and speak to Hernandez about the many reasons science needs to start listening to Indigenous voices.
    Thank you to Jenn Ashton for performing a sensitivity check on this episode.

    • 18 min
    Book Club - Racing Green

    Book Club - Racing Green

    This episode examines the science behind auto racing by digging into Racing Green: How Motorsports Became Smarter, Safer, Cleaner and Faster, by science journalist and science historian Kit Chapman. In this his second book, following Superheavy in 2019, the former Chemistry World comment editor chronicles how motorsport science is advancing and becoming more environmentally friendly, and he describes that ways in which these developments on the track are changing the world for the better.
    Chapman uses exclusive interviews with folks at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center, Formula 1 insiders, engineers, scientists and drivers to tell this story. For us, he also recounts some of the exotic travels he embarked on to thoroughly research this topic, the fascinating people he met along the way, and lessons he’s learned from writing the book. He even talks about the serious curve balls thrown by the Covid-19 global pandemic, and how they showed up in his book, as well as on the racing track, in hospitals and beyond. 

    • 19 min
    Book club – Sticky by Laurie Winkless

    Book club – Sticky by Laurie Winkless

    Why is duct tape the answer to fixing everything? How do geckos cling to walls? And what, exactly, keeps our car tyres rolling down the road? In Sticky: The Secret Science of Surfaces, physicist and science writer Laurie Winkless paints a vivid picture of the vast array of surfaces we interact with every day – and explores the mysteries we’re still unravelling about how those interactions work. 
    We talk to Winkless about earthquakes and geckos, and discuss why even the things we sometimes take for granted (like that little broom they use in curling) have a fascinating scientific story to tell.

    • 18 min
    Her Hidden Genius

    Her Hidden Genius

    In this episode, we discuss Her Hidden Genius. It’s the new book by Marie Benedict, a lawyer and best-selling author who unearths the historical stories of women who have left important legacies. In this her third book about a female scientist, Benedict chronicles the life of Rosalind Franklin, an English chemist and X-ray crystallographer who laboured for years to uncover the structure of DNA but whose research was secretly shared with two male scientists from a different institution – the famous Watson and Crick. They used her data to claim the discovery of DNA’s structure and ultimately win a Nobel prize for it, after Franklin died from cancer at just 37 year old.

    • 19 min
    Book club – Murder isn’t Easy

    Book club – Murder isn’t Easy

    In this episode, we’re delving deep into the science of one of the best-selling fiction writers of all times: Agatha Christie. We look for evidence of her pioneering forensic writing with Murder Isn’t Easy: The Forensics of Agatha Christie, the second book by pathology technician and medical historian Carla Valentine.
    At a time when there was no internet and the word ‘forensics’ didn’t even exist yet, Christie managed to stay up to date with the latest scientific advances as well as real-life cases — all of which inspired her clever plots and twisting tales.
    Together with special guests Raychelle Burks and Kathryn Harkup (both huge Christie fans) we consider Christie’s knack for science communication as well as her problematic selection of stereotyped characters.

    • 19 min

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