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Caesar's Last Breath: The Epic Story of the Air Around Us
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Sam Kean
Caesar's Last Breath: The Epic Story of the Air Around Us by Sam Kean at Abbey's Bookshop,

Caesar's Last Breath: The Epic Story of the Air Around Us

Sam Kean



Mathematics & Sciences;
Popular science;
The Earth: natural history general


384 pages

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It's invisible. It's ever-present. Without it, we would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell.

In Caesar's Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe - which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it.

With every breath, we literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation!

Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we'll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time.

Lively, witty and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar's Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.

By:   Sam Kean
Imprint:   Doubleday
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 154mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   502g
ISBN:   9780857525130
ISBN 10:   0857525131
Pages:   384
Publication Date:   July 2017
Audience:   General/trade ,  General/trade ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Sam Kean spent years collecting mercury from broken thermometers as a child and now he is a writer in Washington DC. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, Air & Space/Smithsonian and New Scientist. In 2009 he was a runner-up for the National Association of Science Writers' Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for best science writer under the age of thirty. He currently writes for Science. His first book, The Disappearing Spoon, was a New York Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Royal Society's Winton Prize for science writing.

Absorbing, entertaining... provocative but compelling... eminently accessible and enjoyable. A real gas - in short! -- Robin McKie * Observer * Funny, clever and altogether effervescent... Kean writes superbly about science itself... A joy for any reader -- James McConnachie * The Sunday Times * There is no denying the pleasure and indeed the wealth of scientific information to be obtained from reading Caesar's Last Breath. It will change forever the way I think about breathing. * Financial Times * It's a helluva read. And it's a gas. -- Tim Radford * The Guardian * Fascinating stories, so insightful, informative, and disarmingly written. It gave this astronaut a new respect for the air around us all, and made me delightfully more aware of each breath I take. -- Col. Chris Hadfield, author of An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

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