I was sorry to see the deadline pass on The Poisoner’s Handbook audio book giveaway because I received so many smart and thoughtful ideas for writing about chemistry in our culture. And I found it really difficult to pick just five winners – so first I’d like to say thanks to everyone who wrote in for the contest.
If I selected your idea for a free audiobook of The Poisoner’s Handbook, you will have received a direct e-mail from me by now.
As a writer I’m drawn to specific ideas, one in which I can clearly see the story. So expect to see future posts based on these excellent suggestions: lead poisoning as a factor in the doomed 1845 Franklin expedition to the Arctic. (I hope to use this for a series of posts exploring lead toxicity), the origin of the idea that we should enrich food products (such as niacin in flour) for health reasons, the role of bacteria in metabolizing poisonous substances, the oxygen parties of the the 19th century in the context of our attitudes towards chemistry, and the 1980s story of the frozen (paralyzed) addicts whose bizarre illnesses contributed to our understanding of Parkinson’s disease.
I’ll look forward to writing them and you’ll have to let me know if I’ve done them justice!