Wednesday, May 12, 2010

{Review} Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold by Tom Shachtman

As a history of the scientific pursuit of ultra low temperatures, "Absolute Zero" is a fairly decent narrative for the general reader. The author stays away from formulas, detailed technical descriptions or diagrams of any sort. The book is really more about the people involved and their relationships with each other; there's a lot of backstabbing in the scientific world! The book however doesn't go fair beyond that. The author does throw in a bit of history of the commercial aspects of cold, like the ice sellers of the nineteenth century and the rise of air conditioning and the flash freezing of food, but these seem to be added as some padding for the book and only whet the appetite. I would recommend this book only for those who wish to gain some insight on the history but aren't looking for much in the way of science.

Link to LibraryThing entry for this book

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