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September 11, 1937

Out of the Test Tube

JAMA. 1937;109(11):898. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780370064029

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No lesser adjective than "fascinating" describes this book adequately. Greeting his readers as modern Caesars, who enjoy the comforts of modern civilization by virtue of chemistry, from the soap in their morning baths to the motor cars and the fuel by which they are whisked to work, the author proceeds to show how chemistry is at the basis of everything we use. With chapter titles he woos the reader to look just a few pages further no matter how late the hour: "With Fire Man Rose Above the Beasts" is the story of oxygen; "The Importance of Nothing at All" deals with vacuums and the behavior of gases; "Language and Tools" is his approach to chemical symbols, weights and measures; "The Lightest Substance Known" is, of course hydrogen, and "The Elixir of Life," water. The chapters devoted to "atom smashing" bring ionization and allied phenomena within the comprehension, at least

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