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Chemistry in Daily Life: Popular Lectures

Nature volume 54, pages 521522 | Download Citation



A BOOK which professes to instruct the public, uninitiated into technical language or methods, concerning the results of the application of scientific principles to the purposes of daily life, must possess a combination of qualities not easily associated together. It ought to be true—that is, the positive statements it contains ought to be facts, and yet, though its pages should present the truth and nothing but the truth, it is impossible that it should give the whole truth in regard to many subjects it must pretend to discuss. Here is the grand opportunity for the exercise of judgment on the part of the writer, without which and a large proportion of sympathy with his readers the book will be both unintelligible and uninteresting. There must be—and there are—many subjects which, from their nature, are incommunicable to the mind not already prepared with a knowledge of fundamental ideas and some familiarity with the technical language or symbols by which these ideas are expressed. Such subjects as many divisions of pure mathematics and, we will venture to add, of modern chemistry belong to this category.

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