It’s a Gas

My new book has been published! Read an excerpt here.

Why are most gases invisible, odourless and tasteless? Why do some poison us and others make us laugh? And why do some power our engines while others make drinks fizzy? In It’s a Gas, I reveal an invisible world you have probably never thought much about.

Taking us back to that exhilarating – and often dangerous – moment when scientists tried to work out exactly what they had discovered, I show that gases are the formative substances of our modern world, each with its own weird and wonderful personality.

We see how seventeenth-century laughing gas parties led to the first use of anaesthetics in surgery, how the invention of the air valve in musical instruments gave us bicycles, cars and trainers, and how gases made us masters of the sea (by huge steamships) and skies (via extremely flammable balloons). This book reveals the immense importance of gases to modern civilisation. Read an excerpt here