Just published: What Einstein Didn’t Know: Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions

Discover how cricket chirps can tell us the temperature, why you can’t unburn a match, why ice floats, and a host of mysteries of modern living — including some riddles that maybe even Einstein couldn’t solve. From the simple (How does soap know what’s dirt? How do magnets work? Why do batteries die?) to the more complex (Why does evaporation have a cooling effect? Where does uranium get its energy?), this book makes science more understandable and fun.
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CHEMISTRY EXPLAINED is a complete, 550-page introductory textbook with all the bells and whistles used in a real college course for liberal-arts students, a course that Prof. Wolke taught at the University of Pittsburgh.

Table of Contents

Each chapter ends with new terms, questions and problems, and recommended readings.


1-1 What are we doing here?

Reasons for taking a chemistry course.


1-2 The two cultures: “those scientists” and you

Survival in a technological world.


1-3 Science or technology: Who’s the big, bad wolf?

Pure science, applied science, and technology. Who deserves the credit? Who deserves the blame?


1-4 Science: Why bother?

Why society engages in scientific research.


1-5 Support of basic science: Who pays the bills?

The expenses of scientific research. Government laboratories. Research proposals. Public support of science.


1-6 Technology assessment: there are no unmixed blessings

Societal problems brought about by technology. Pollution, mineral resources, energy, drugs, and safety.


1-7 Chemistry: the all-pervasive science

Definition of chemistry. Chemical products in everyday surroundings. The fields of chemistry. The Nobel Prizes in chemistry. Why study chemistry?


1-8 Controversy among scientists: science friction

Conflicting conclusions. The “Science Court.”


1-9 Your own personal survival kit

How to succeed in a chemistry course.



2-1 Chemistry is an experimental science. But what is an Experiment?

Asking questions of nature.


2-2 Measurement: Can’t we do anything right?

The variables of an experiment. Accuracy of a measurement. Statistical data.


2-3 Units: amounts of space, matter, and time

The need for a uniform language of measurement.


2-4 Why are English units bad?

English vs. metric.


2-5 Metric units in a nutshell

Basic units. Bigger and smaller units. SI units.


2-6 Conversion factors: a powerful tool in chemistry

The method of conversion factors (factor-label method).


2-7 Temperature: How hot is hot? How cool is cool?

Kinetic energy. Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Kelvin. Temperature vs. heat.


2-8 Mathematics vs. arithmetic: on ratios and densities

Extrapolation. Indirect measurement. Percent and ppm. Density.


2-9 More arithmetic: huge numbers, tiny numbers, and the cost of science

Exponential numbers. Multiplying and dividing exponential numbers. Logarithmic scales. The range of scientific observation. Computers.


2-10 The mental tools: hypotheses, theories, and all that

Accidental discoveries. The scientific method. Great science and unimaginative science.


2-11 Conservation laws: mass, energy, and Einstein

Laws of nature. Conservation laws. Conservation of mass-energy. Calculating mass and energy equivalents.

2-12 The two kinds of energy: “can do” and “is doing”

Potential energy and kinetic energy.


2-13 Sharpening your tools

How to win at poker, in scientific research, and in a chemistry course.



3-1 The states of matter: you can’t drink a rock

Solids, liquids, and gases. Physical and chemical changes. Greek atomism.


3-2 Atoms

Dalton’s atomic theory.


3-3 The elements: 106 atomically pure materials

Elements. Chemical symbols. Abundances of the elements.


3-4 Let’s make water

Specific substances. Chemical compounds. A chemical reaction.


3-5 Molecules: atoms in wedlock

How molecules are formed. Chemical formulas. Atomic groupings. Molecular elements. Differences among compounds. The number of compounds known.


3-6 Chemical reactions: the atomic hustle

How chemical reactions take place. The energy of a chemical reaction.


3-7 Chemical compounds: How much of each element?

Conservation of atoms. The constant composition of compounds. Atomic weights. Percent composition.


3-8 The fluoridation of drinking water

The composition of teeth. The social issues in water fluoridation. The chemical issues in water fluoridation. Effects of various amounts of fluorine.


3-9 On phosphates, fertilizers, and farming

Organic farming. Amounts of nutrients in fertilizers.


3-10 Mixtures: the “everything else” besides elements and compounds

Air. Alloys. Other kinds of mixtures.


3-11 Formulas, atomic weights, and percent composition: buy any two and get the third

one free

Three related characteristics of compounds. The chemical determination of atomic



3-12 Can we see atoms?

The field-ion microscope. What “seeing” means. The electron microscope.


3-13 How do you weigh an atom?

Accurate atomic weights. The mass spectrometer. Atomic weights from nuclear processes.


3-14 Isotopes, Dalton! You forgot isotopes!

The standard atom for atomic weights. Stable isotopes. The hydrogen isotopes. Averaged atomic weights. Separated isotopes.


3-15 Counting atoms and molecules: from one atom to 600 billion trillion atoms in a single bound

The mole. Avogadro’s number. Amounts of a substance. What a chemical formula tells.


3-16 Amounts of stuff: a summary

Conversions among numbers of particles, masses, and volumes.


3-17 A close look at a dose of penicillin

An antibiotic. Milligrams, moles, molecules, and percent of an element.


3-18 Atoms: fact or faith?

The strength of a belief.



4-1 Does air conduct electricity?

What’s different about atoms, besides weight. Electricity. Conductors and nonconductors. An experiment with air. Discovering the electron. What electricity is.


4-2 Electrons everywhere

Mobile electrons. How much voltage makes electrons flow? Static electricity. How to generate an electrical potential.


4-3 Mass and charge: portrait of an electron

Why electrons are negative. The electron’s mass and charge.


4-4 The discovery of the nucleus: what one can learn by throwing rocks

The atom’s positive charge. The failure of common sense. Rutherford’s scattering experiment. The atomic nucleus. The nuclear charge.


4-5 On periods (dots), periods (menstrual), and periods (atomic properties)

Cyclic ups and downs. Similarities among the elements. Ionization. Multiatom ions. Ionization energies. Periodic behavior.


4-6 The periodic table: the chemist’s bible

Features of the periodic table. Metals. Transition metals. Nonmetals.


4-7 The arrangement of electrons in atoms: it’s a strange, small world

The laws that submicroscopic particles follow. Electron shells. Pauli’s exclusion principle. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Quanta. Particles and waves.


4-8 Atomic spectra: on ghosts, signs, and things that go boomp in the night

The excitation and deexcitation of electrons in atoms. Neon signs and mercury vapor lamps. Sparks. Fireworks and colored flames.


4-9 The periodic table explained: the four S’s

The kinds of energy an atom’s electron can have. How the elements’ periodic properties come about.


4-10 Are atoms different shapes?

The shapes of atoms’ electron clouds.


4-11 Atomic spectroscopy: jumping electrons in everyday life.

Wavelengths and frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. Nuclear, atomic, and molecular spectroscopy. Spectrographic analysis.


4-12 Lasers: what they do and how they work

Fluorescence. Stimulated emission. Coherent radiation.



5-1 What are nuclei made of? Protons and neutrons

The proton. The neutron. The nucleon number.


5-2 The subnuclear zoo

The density of atomic nuclei. Other subnuclear particles. Nucleons.


5-3 Radioactivity: What Is it?

Unstable and stable nuclei. Alpha emission. Nuclear equations. Beta emission. Gamma emission.


5-4 Synthetic elements: filling in the gaps

The missing elements: Tc, Pm, and At. Nuclear reactions. The discovery of technetium.


5-5 Nuclear machines: how to smash an atom

Particle accelerators. Nuclear chemistry.


5-6 More synthetic elements: beyond uranium

The discovery of neptunium. The transuranium elements.


5-7 Still more synthetic elements: superheavy ones?

The search for superheavy elements.


5-8 Radioactivity: the long and the short of it

Stable and unstable nuclei. Half-life.


5-9 The radioactive decay law: the photographer’s friend

A simple form of the radioactive decay law.


5-10 Our thyroid glands: underactive, overactive, and radioactive

Thyroxine. Iodized salt. Using the decay law equation.


5-11 Radiocarbon: how to date a mummy

The principles of radiocarbon dating.

5-12 What radiation does in matter—and in people

The penetration and ionization of alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays. Radiation shielding. Effects of radiation on living tissue. Radiation detectors.


5-13 Tracers: tying tags on atoms and molecules

Tagged molecules. Kidney stones. Organ scans.


5-14 Diagnosis, therapy, and sterilization: the good side of radiation

Hard and soft X rays. Radiation therapy. Preservation of food.


5-15 The hazards of radiation

The rem: a unit of radiation harm. The effects on humans of large amounts of radiation. Natural environmental radiation.


5-16 Where does nuclear energy come from?

The exact masses of atoms. Nuclear fission. Nuclear fusion.


5-17 Nuclear fusion: the ultimate answer to our energy problems

Some fusion reactions. Fusion bombs and fusion power.


5-18 How to make an atomic bomb or a nuclear reactor, but not both at the same time

The nuclear fission chain reaction. How a nuclear reactor works.


5-19 Fission and fussin’: the nuclear power controversy

The five major issues in nuclear reactor safety.



6-1 It’s gotta be the electrons

Valence electrons and core electrons. Octets of electrons.


6-2 Electronegativity: metals, nonmetals, and transition metals

Cations and anions. Metals and nonmetals. Electronegativity.


6-3 The ionic bond: opposites attract

The ionic bond. Crystals. Crystal models. X-ray diffraction. Ions in solids, liquids, and gases.


6-4 The covalent bond: Likes can attract also!

The covalent bond. Multiple covalent bonds. Carbon’s tetrahedral bonding. Structures of diamond and graphite.


6-5 The polar covalent bond: an in-between situation

Polar covalent bonds. Dipoles. The shape of the water molecule.


6-6 Multiatom ions: atomic groupies

The electron structures and charges of multiatomic ions.


6-7 What’s in a name? Well, what’s in the compound?

Names of some inorganic compounds.


6-8 Cyanide: life’s little on-off switch

Cyanides. Cyanide poisoning. Inorganic chemical names.


6-9 Taking stock of bonds

Resonance. Rare-gas compounds. Formulas of compounds. Representations of molecules.


6-10 Intermolecular attractions: milder than real bonds

Dipole-dipole attraction. Hydrogen bonding. Van der Waals forces.


6-11 Molecular spectroscopy: what molecules do for excitement

Molecular rotations and vibrations.


6-12 The greenhouse effect: Why is it getting warm in here?

Why greenhouses are warm. Combustion and oxidation. CO, in the atmosphere. What’s currently known and unknown about the greenhouse effect.



7-1 Chemical equations: So what else is new?

Balanced chemical equations. Realistic chemical equations. The products of



7-2 That old devil, “how much?”

The amounts of reactants and products in chemical reactions. The nature of a reaction vs. the amount of a reaction.


7-3 Energy: the invisible but ever-present product or reactant

Bond energies. Heat of combustion. The calorimeter. Nutritional Calories and



7-4 Energy and entropy: Will it go or won’t it?

Spontaneous processes. Entropy. Free energy.


7-5 Reaction speeds: slow, fast, and outta my way!

Fast oxidations and slow oxidations. Inherent speed of a reaction. Changing the speed of a reaction. Concentration. The effect of temperature.


7-6 Catalysts: “I’ll be glad ta help ya out, but I don’t wanna get involved!”

Enzymes. Fixation of nitrogen. The Haber process. Catalytic converters.

7-7 Winning metals: the ages of civilization

Ores. The Bronze Age. The Iron Age. The Hall process for making aluminum. Electrolysis. Catalyzing the oxidation of aluminum.


7-8 Chemical equilibrium: a submicroscopic two-way street

Chemical equilibrium. Le Chateller’s principle.



8-1 Energy: getting on familiar terms

Energy and power. Electric light bulbs. The energies and powers of common processes.


8-2 Energy: Who needs it?

Energy uses in the U.S.: Heating-cooling, transportation, and the manufacturing of metals, nonmetals, and chemicals.


8-3 Even energy costs energy!

The energy costs of producing energy.


8-4 The energy rat race: from animals to atoms

Muscles. The water wheel. The windmill. The steam engine. The nuclear reactor. The fusion reactor.


8-5 Fuels: burn, baby, burn

Energy from trash. Energy from wood. The history of fuels in the United States.


8-6 Fossil fuels: there’s no fuel like an old fuel

Petroleum and natural gas. Peat, lignite, coal, and coke. Sulfur in coal.


8-7 Hydrocarbons: chains of C’s and H’s

Carbon atom chains. The saturated hydrocarbons.


8-8 Separating the molecules in petroleum: fractional distillation

Physical states of the alkanes. Fractional distillation. Petrochemicals. Lubrication.


8-9 Breaking down and reshaping molecules: the cracking and reforming of


The gasoline engine. Octane ratings. Unsaturated hydrocarbons. Cracking. Reforming. Isomers. Gasoline additives.


8-10 Our fuels: How long will they last?

Factors in the world’s energy problem. Reserves.


8-10 Our fuels: How long will they last?

Factors in the world’s energy


8-11 The laws of energy: What can we do? What can’t we do?

The first law of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics.


8-12 Alternative energy sources: Where do we go from here?

Methanol. Hydrogen. Fuel cells. Mechanical energy from the oceans. Thermal energy from the oceans. Geothermal energy. Oil shale and tar sands. Coal gasification. Solar energy.



9-1 Chemistry and electricity: an intimate relationship

Kinetic and potential electrical energy. Electrochemical cells. The conversion of chemical energy to electrical energy.


9-2 Oxidation and reduction: the passing and receiving game

Oxidation states. Variable oxidation states. Oxidation and reduction.


9-3 Changing chemical energy to electrical: cells and batteries

Cells and batteries. Recharging batteries.


9-4 Fuel ceils: eliminate the middlemen

Batteries vs. fuel cells. The hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell. Muscles and electrochemical potentials.


9-5 Electrolysis: making chemical changes with electricity

Electrolysis. The Hall process. Electrolysis of water. Electrolysis of molten sodium chloride. Electroplating.


9-6 Germicides and bleaches: oxidation! oxidation! we want oxidation!

Oxidizing agents and reducing agents. The halogens as oxidizing agents. Bleaching.


9-7 The photographic process: reduction! reduction! we want reduction!

The photodecomposition of silver halides. Negative and positive Images. The photographic emulsion. The latent Image. Developing the latent image.



10-1 What’s a gas?

The kinetic molecular model. Ideal gases and real gases.


10-2 What gases are like

Properties of gases: mass, volume, temperature, and pressure.


10-3 The gas we live in

Units of air pressure: the torr and the atmosphere. The earth’s atmosphere. Mars’ atmosphere.


10-4 Pushing gases around: the ideal-gas law

How a gas’s volume and pressure are related. How a gas’s pressure and temperature are related. The ideal-gas law.


10-5 Applications of the gas law

Determining the Celsius temperature of absolute zero. Helium-filled balloons.

Automobile tires.


10-6 Air pollution: a slightly hazy bird’s-eye view

Air pollution disasters. Pollutants.


10-7 Carbon monoxide: the blood spoiler

Carbon monoxide and hemoglobin. Sources of carbon monoxide pollution.


10-8 Nitrogen oxides: the smog makers

Smog. Temperature inversions.


10-9 Hydrocarbons: too much of a natural thing

Natural hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons from gasoline.


10-10 Sulfur dioxide: the most potent pollutant

Compounds of sulfur. Oxides of sulfur. Acid rain.


10-11 Particulates: where there’s smoke, there’s


10-12 Air pollution: summing it up

Sources of various air pollutants. The relative amounts of various air pollutants. The relative hazards of various air pollutants.


10-13 Pollution postscript: a success story

Chlorofluorocarbons. The stratospheric ozone layer.



11-1 Liquids: getting our feet wet

Properties of liquids: pourability, noncompressibility, viscosity, evaporation.


11-2 Volatility: on evaporation, perspiration, and salivation

Molecular kinetic energy distribution. Evaporative cooling. Volatility.


11-3 Vapor pressure: the molecules’desire to fly

Equilibrium vapor pressure. Relative humidity.


11-4 Boiling: when push of vapor pressure comes to shove of atmosphere

Boiling. Effect of pressure on boiling point. Temperature of a liquid during boiling.


11-5 “Liquid gases” and cryogenics

Condensation. Liquid nitrogen. Cryogenics.


11-6 Melting: the breakdown of law and order

Melting points of solids. The heating and cooling curve for water’s changes of state. Heats of fusion and vaporization.


11-7 Ice

Densities of liquid water and ice. Structure of ice. Evaporation of solids.


11-8 Glass

Noncrystalline solids. Soda-lime glass. Other glasses.


11-9 Dirty water

Water supply and water usage. Natural purification of water.


11-10 What’s in our water and who put it there?

Germs. Silt and soil. HeaL Radioactivity. Inorganic chemicals and metals. Organic chemicals. Fertilizers and eutrophication.


11-11 Other things to drink

Fermentation. Wines. Beers. Distilled beverages.


11-12 It’s all a matter of amount

Toxicity of ethyl alcohol.



12-1 Kinds of solutions: from nine to seven to three

Solutions. The seven physical types of solutions.


12-2 The dissolving process: How do solutions get that way?

Sources of solution energy: chemical reactions, molecular attractions, and ionic attractions. Crystal energy, hydration energy, and entropy of solution. Electrolysis of aqueous NaCI solution.


12-3 Electrolytes: strong, weak, and non

Strong electrolytes, weak electrolytes, and nonelectrolytes. Dissociation.


12-4 Dry cleaners and soaps: What dissolves in what and why?

How oils dissolve in nonpolar solvents. How soaps are made. How soaps work.


12-5 Hard water and synthetic detergents: washday miracles are a dime a dozen

Hard water. Washing soda. Trisodium phosphate. Synthetic detergents.


12-6 Molality of a solution: the proportion of solute to solvent

Concentrated and dilute solutions. Molality. Saturated solutions. Solubilities of various substances.


12-7 Summing up solubility

Solubility vs. electrolyte strength.


12-8 How does adding a solute change the properties of water?

Raising the boiling point. Lowering the freezing point.


12-9 The heat of solution: Monsieur Le Chatelier fixes a flat

Endothermic and exothermic solution processes. Effect of temperature on solubility.


12-10 Osmosis: solvent, si; solute, no

Osmotic pressure. Isotonic, hypotonic, and hypertonic solutions. Preservation of foods.


12-11 Dialysis: solvent and small solute particles, si; large solute particles, no

The kidneys. Blood dialysis.


12-12 Filtration: solvent and solutes, si; suspended particles, no

What can and cannot be filtered.


12-13 Colloids: What do grape jelly, blue skies, and river deltas have in common?

Colloidal suspensions. Brownian motion. Tyndall effect Common colloids.


12-14 Seawater: What’s in it for us?

Composition of seawater. Minerals from seawater. Desalination.




13-1 Molarity of a solution: the proportion of solute in the solution

Molarity vs. molality.


13-2 Equilibrium: a not-so-instant replay

Types of equilibrium: chemical reactions, vapor pressure, solubility, osmosis.


13-3 The equilibrium constant: a powerful predictor

The equilibrium constant. Formation equilibria. Solubility equilibria.


13-4 The dissociation of water

Acids. Strong acids. Weak acids. Bases. Strong bases. Weak bases. Water as an acid and a base.


13-5 Salts: sodium chloride and a cast of thousands



13-6 pH: How acid? How basic?

The dissociation constant K„. The pH.


13-7 Hydrolysis: salts aren’t necessarily neutral

Acidic salts. Basic salts.


13-8 The pH’s of all sorts of stuff

Soils. Shampoos. Teeth. Rain.


13-9 Buffers and the body: your basic blood and acid stomach

The pH of blood. Buffers. Antacids.



14-1 Stuff and things: good or bad?

Using energy to convert resources—into junk?


14-2 The earth’s crust: our one and only stockroom

Composition of the earth’s core, mantle, and crust.


14-3 Silicon and the silicates: Mother Earth’s rock group

Some common minerals. The structures of silicates: quartz, mica, talc, asbestos. Portland cement. Silicones.


14-4 Limestone, coral, seashells, eggshells, pearls, marble sculptures, stalactites, and chalk

How calcium carbonate deposits were formed. Limestone. Marble. Sea shells. Pearls. Stalactites and stalagmites.


14-5 Phosphorus: there’s no living without it

Phosphorus from phosphate rock. Phosphate fertilizers.


14-6 Sulfur: the acid maker

Occurrence of sulfur. Vulcanization of rubber. The sulfur acids and their salts.


14-7 Metals: a matter of importance

The less important metals.


14-8 The lanthanide and actinide elements: If quadruplets is four, what’s the word for fourteen?

Lanthanides. Actinides. Ion exchange. Deionizers. Separation of the lanthanides.


14-9 Titanium and tantalum: the corrosion toilers

Titanium metal. Tantalum metal.


14-10 Manganese, iron, cobalt, and nickel: from the ocean bottom to outer space

Meteorites. Manganese nodules. The group 8B elements.


14-11 Other natural materials: et cetera, ad infinitum

Natural and human-made materials. Minerals and elements used in making houses, automobiles, and telephones.



15-1 The limitless world of organic compounds

Straight chains. Branched chains. Rings. Double and triple bonds. Structural isomerism. Stereoisomerism.


15-2 What do organic chemists do?

Isolation. Structure determination. Synthesis. Physical organic chemistry.


15-3 The hydrocarbons: millions of compounds from just two elements

Types of hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbon groups. Alkanes. Alkenes. Alkynes. Cyclic hydrocarbons. Aromatic hydrocarbons. Benzene. Carcinogens.


15-4 Halides: With friends like that, we don’t need enemies!

Functional groups. Chloroform. Chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides. Pheromones.


15-5 The alcohols: eat, drink, and be wary

Isomeric alcohols. Glycols. Cholesterol.


15-6 The ethers: night-night or bye-bye

Diethyl ether. Epoxides.


15-7 The amines: nature’s bases

The amino group. Organic bases.


15-8 Aldehydes and ketones: the carbonyl sisters

The carbonyl group. Ketones. Aldehydes.


15-9 The carboxylic acids: acidity isn’t just an inorganic game

The carboxyl group. Dissociation of acetic acid. Oxidation of alcohols. Some common carboxylic acids.


15-10 The esters: chemicals can smell good

Esterification. Some common esters. Waxes. Aspirin. Nitroglycerin.


15-11 The amides: there’s good guys and bad guys in every family

Nicotinamide. Barbiturates.


15-12 Organic reactions: molecules plus molecules make other molecules

Characteristics of organic reactions. Oxidation and reduction. Condensation and hydrolysis. Transfer reactions. Hydrogenation. Decarboxylation. Rearrangement reactions. Polymerization. Nylon, polyesters, polyurethanes, polyethylene.


15-13 Synthesis: What have you done for me lately?

What the synthetic organic chemist does.



16-1 Why are we here? a second look

The human-made materials around us.


16-2 Liquid crystals: turning molecules on and off

Properties of liquid crystals. Liquid-crystal thermometers. Liquid-crystal displays.


16-3 Food additives: ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid on rye

Purposes of food additives. Carcinogens, teratogens, and mutagens. Additives in common foods.


16-4 Prescription drugs: the name game

The pharmaceutical industry. Names of drugs. Generic prescriptions. New drugs. Most commonly prescribed drugs.


16-5 Misused drugs from plants

Alkaloids. Morphine. Codeine. Heroin. Marijuana.


16-6 Misused drugs from test tubes

Demerol, Darvon, Talwin, Amphetamines. LSD. PCP. History of drug misuse


16-7 The chemicals we put on our bodies

Antiperspirants and deodorants. Shaving creams. Hair creams. Hair sprays. Cosmetics.



17-1 What’s SO special about life?

Definitions of life.


17-2 Lipids: the fat of the land

Definition of lipid. Fats. Fatty acids. Saturated and unsaturated fats in foods. Phospholipids. Steroids. Prostaglandins.


17-3 Carbohydrates: How sweet (or starchy or tough) it is!

Monosaccharides. Disaccharides. Polysaccharides. The carbon dioxide cycle.


17-4 Proteins: our versatile structural materials

Variety of proteins. Amino acids. Peptides. The major amino acids. Primary,

secondary, tertiary, and quaternary protein structures.


17-5 What you are is what you eat

Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in foods. Vitamins. Minerals.



18-1 Putting the words to music: what people do for a living

The three essential kinds of life processes.


18-2 ATP: our bodies’ energy currency

Energy from food. ATP.


18-3 Body building: the digestion and metabolism of proteins

Digestion. Absorption. Metabolism. The breakdown of proteins. Neurotransmitters. Endorphins. The amino acid pool.


18-4 Body padding: the digestion and metabolism of fats

Hydrolysis of fats. Storage of fats. Metabolism of fatty acids.


18-5 Body moving: the digestion and metabolism of carbohydrates

Breakdown of carbohydrates to monosaccharides. Glucose in the blood. The Krebs cycle.


18-6 Keeping it all going: our enzymes

What enzymes do. How enzymes work. Inhibition of enzymes. Hormones.


18-7 Reproduction: Who’s got the blueprints?

The living cell. Chromosomes. Genes.


18-8 The double helix of DNA: how to Xerox a blueprint

Nucleic acids. The structure of DNA. The replication of DNA. Messenger RNA. Codons. Transfer RNA. The genetic code.


18-9 Hereditary disease: Who broke the Xerox machine?

Genetic diseases. Sickle-cell anemia. Genetic engineering.


18-10 Changing the forms of life: cutting and splicing molecules of DNA

Changing genetic material. Recombinant-DNA procedures. Dangers and control of recombinant-DNA research.


18-11 To the future

Survival of the human species.



Robert L. Wolke is professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and a food columnist for The Washington Post. As an educator and lecturer, he enjoys a national reputation for his ability to make science understandable and enjoyable.

He is the author of Impact: Science on Society and Chemistry Explained, as well as dozens of scientific research papers. His latest book, the fourth in his Einstein series on everyday science, is What Einstein Told His Cook 2, The Sequel: Further Adventures in Kitchen Science.

Robert L. Wolke has won the James Beard Foundation’s award for the best newspaper column and the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ (IACP) Bert Greene Award for the best newspaper food writing. “What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained” was nominated by both the James Beard Foundation and the IACP as the best technical or reference book of the year. The American Chemical Society has selected Dr. Wolke for the 2005 Grady-Stack Award for interpreting chemistry for the public.

Read an interview with Robert Wolke.