From Publishers Weekly
Despite the broad scope implied in the title, Hazen ( Science Matters ) focuses on the fairly short recent history of the quest to synthesize diamonds for industrial use. The science itself is tantalizingly simple (diamonds are pure carbon and carbon is abundant), and Hazen's account covers the search for the right machine --a pressure mechanism capable of imitating simple forces found in nature. That effort has been the obsession of General Electric engineers since the 1940s. Their experiments were all variations on a theme--force acting at the molecular level. It's a theme that Hazen never makes quite tangible in this overlong chronicle that concentrates more on the lab, the weather and the personalities than on science. The production of synthetic diamonds is unquestionably a success story with a significant impact on 20th-century life and industry. Hazen notes, however, that the greater impact will be made by a new substance, buckminsterfullerine, the third carbon, discovered only three years ago.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
YA-A surprisingly intriguing resource and a quick read. Hazen takes readers from the initial formation and discovery of diamonds through current attempts to produce them from carbon-containing items. He makes comparisons to the allotrope graphite, and to the buckeyball-the most recently discovered allotrope. Readers are made aware of the cost (sometimes in human life) of the discovery of these elements. By clearly explaining the chemistry of allotropes of carbon and by giving examples and analogies to help clarify the more difficult concepts, this book informs and entertains. Its academic appearance and dreary photographs are misleading. Presented almost like a human-interest story, the narrative is filled with details that bring the information to life. A catchy introduction relates how substances such as a spoonful of peanut butter can be transformed into precious diamonds. A fine research tool.Donna West, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.