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Science General

Chemistry for Breakfast

The Amazing Science of Everyday Life

by (author) Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim

illustrated by claire Lenkova

Publisher
Greystone Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Apr 2021
Category
General, General, Applied Sciences, Analytic
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9781771647489
    Publish Date
    Apr 2021
    List Price
    $32.95

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Description

“A magical tour of the fundamentals of chemistry.”—K.C. Nicolaou, Professor of Chemistry at Rice University 

“Bristles with imaginative ideas … particularly [for] those who would not usually read a ‘chemistry book’."—Dr. Simon Cotton, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham

A perfect book for readers of The Physics of Everyday Things and Storm in a Teacup

Have you ever wondered why your alarm clock sends you spiraling? Or how toothpaste works on your teeth? Why do cakes and cookies sometimes turn out dry? (Hint: you may not be adding enough sugar.) In Chemistry for Breakfast, award-winning chemist and science communicator Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim reveals the amazing chemistry behind everyday things (like baking and toothpaste) and not-so-everyday things (like space travel). With a relatable, funny, and conversational style, she explains essential chemical processes everyone should know—and turns the ordinary into extraordinary.

Over the course of a single day, Mai shows us that chemistry is everywhere: we just have to look for it. In the morning, her partner’s much-too-loud alarm prompts a deep dive into biological clocks, fight-or-flight responses, and melatonin’s role in making us sleepy. Before heading to the lab, she explains how the stress hormone cortisol helps wake us up, and brews her morning coffee with a side of heat conduction and states of matter. 

Mai continues her day with explainers of cell phone technology, food preservation, body odor, baking, the effects of alcohol, and the chemistry behind the expression “love drunk.” All the while, she shows us what it’s really like to be a working chemist, and fights against the stereotype of a nerd playing with test tubes in a lab coat. 

Filled with charming illustrations, laughter, and plenty of surprises, Chemistry for Breakfast is a perfect book for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of chemistry without having prior knowledge of the science. With Mai as your guide, you’ll find something fascinating everywhere around you.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

DR. MAI THI NGUYEN-KIM is a chemist and science journalist. During her doctoral studies at Harvard, she started the YouTube channel The Secret Life of Scientists, which marked the start of her mission to “infect” people with a love of science. She lives in Germany, where she hosts a national TV series on science and produces the YouTube channel maiLab.

Editorial Reviews

“This book shows that chemistry is not just relevant to life; it’s really, really interesting. Its is an insider’s look into scientists’ minds, social interactions, and laboratories that will change the way that readers view their lives, surroundings, and bodies … and gives advice that you didn’t know you needed. Chemistry for Breakfast is an engaging, accessible, and downright fun science book.”
Foreword Reviews, STARRED review

“With its wealth of examples taken from everyday life, from soap to toothpaste, Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim’s charming romp through the essence of chemistry may just inspire a new generation of chemists.”
Larry Gonick, author of The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry

“In Chemistry for Breakfast, Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim uses her passion for science to give us a lighthearted and enjoyable look into the fascinating discoveries hidden in the things we encounter every day.”
Dr. Steven Farmer, author of Strange Chemistry: The Stories Your Chemistry Teacher Wouldn't Tell You 

“It is hard to resist being swept up in Mai's enthusiasm and begin to see the world—as she does—as a wonder of interacting chemical processes.”
Dr. Paul May, professor at the University of Bristol, editor of the website Molecule of the Month, and co-author of Molecules that Amaze Us

“Chemistry for Breakfast bristles with imaginative ideas, and its fresh style will commend it to many readers, particularly those who would not usually read a ‘chemistry book’.”
Dr. Simon Cotton, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham

“As readers journey through revelations about chemicals found in the likes of toothpaste, hamburgers, the brain and even human flatus, they may hardly notice that along the way they have been painlessly educated in the nuances of chemical bonding. Chemistry for Breakfast is a wonderful remedy for chemophobia, a condition that seems to be infectious and is much in need of treatment.”
Joe Schwarcz, Chemistry Professor and Director, McGill Office for Science and Society 

“Blended with physics, biology and medicine, Mai’s book Chemistry for Breakfast is a magical tour of the fundamentals of chemistry and its impact on science and society.”
K.C. Nicolaou, PhD, Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Professor of Chemistry at Rice University and CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research

“Chemistry for Breakfast bristles with imaginative ideas, and its fresh style will commend it to many readers, particularly those who would not usually read a ‘chemistry book’."
Dr. Simon Cotton, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham