It's a Gas
audiobook (Unabridged) ∣ The Sublime and Elusive Elements That Expand Our World
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The New York Times bestselling author of Stuff Matters and Liquid Rules presents a fascinating guided tour of the secret life of gases: the strange, elusive, and fascinating substances that shape our world.
Gases are all around us—they fill our lungs, power our movement, create stars, and warm our atmosphere. Often invisible and sometimes odorless, these ubiquitous substances are also the least understood materials in our world, and always have been.
It wasn't long ago that they were seen as the work of ancient spirits: the sudden closing of a door after a change in airflow signaled a ghost's presence. Scientists and engineers have struggled with their own gaseous demons. The development of high-pressure steam power in the 18th century literally blew away some researchers, ushering in a new era for both safety regulations and mass transit. And carbon dioxide, that noxious byproduct of fossil fuel consumption and cow burps, gave rise to modern civilization. Its warming properties known for centuries, it now spells ruin for our fragile atmosphere.
As bestselling science writer and materials scientist Mark Miodownik shows in this entertaining, often hilarious tour of gases, we've long harnessed the power of gases to create life-altering technologies, without fully understanding their potential.
In the perfect follow-up to his bestselling Stuff Matters and Liquid Rules, It's a Gas chronicles ten gases that shaped human history. From hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and neon to laughing gas, steam, and even wind, the story of gases is the story of that tricky space where science and belief collide, and of the elusive limits of human understanding.