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Carbon: One Atom's Odyssey


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An illustrated history of a single atom of carbon, tracing its many manifestations from the Big Bang to the present.

About the Author

John Barnett is a life-long, self-taught lover of science. His favorite job was as a shepherd in Cornwall, England. For many years he enjoyed working as a carpenter, even building his own sailboat which, last he knew, still floats. For the past decade he has called himself a graphic designer and illustrator, skills he has applied toward many books. This book is the first of his own. The drawings within were done 'old-school' with fine-tipped mechanical pencils on paper. John currently lives on the shore of (and quite often on) Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island with his wife and three children. Roald Hoffmann was born in 1937 in Zloczow, then Poland. He came to the US in 1949, and has long been at Cornell, active as a theoretical chemist. In chemistry he has taught his colleagues how to think about electrons influencing structure and reactivity, and won most of the honors of his profession. Hoffmann is also a writer, carving out his own land between poetry, philosophy, and science. He has published six books of non-fiction, three plays, and six volumes of poetry, including two book length selections of his poems in Spanish and Russian translations.


"A tribute to Primo Levi as much as it is to the remarkable carbon atom. For to John, as to many others, chancing upon 'The Periodic Table' was transformative. The images you see testify to how different the world becomes after that book finds its way into our imagination. . . . Here John Barnett invites us to follow the atom in its wondrous graphic journey."
-Roald Hoffmann, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (from the foreword)

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