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17 Molecules That Changed History
Can you name the molecules/elements from the novel: 'Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History'!?
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Most of the items in the list are compounds, a couple are elements (the book title is a little misleading)
Single Letter Amino Acids
The first antibiotic; it was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming.
This simple compound has been used to preserve vegetables and meat for thousands of years.
The key ingredient in gun powder, first used in the 13th century to fire canons.
This is the most widely used drug in the world, with more than 100 billion tablets consumed annually.
This compound is the active ingredient in soap.
This element is a key component of semiconductors, computer chips, and circuits.
This compound began to be widely used after 1839, when Charles Goodyear found a way to make it strong, durable and elastic.
Used as early as 5000 BC, this compound is the principal ingredient in glass.
By far the most popular plastic, this compound is used in grocery bags, artificial joints and plastic bottles.
This compound was used to eliminate malaria from Europe and North America, and more recently used in insecticides (though its use is limited due to safety concerns)
This potent painkiller is used to help the chronically ill manage their pain. It is also the chemical precursor of the illicit drug heroin.
100 million tons of this compound are produced each year for fertilizer. Without it, an additional 2 billion people would be facing starvation.
This element accounts for over 90% of all metal production; it is used in everything from cars to planes to fridges to computers.
Worldwide, about 1 in 2 people regularly ingest this intoxicating compound.
A highly corrosive and acidic chemical used in mining, steel production, chemical synthesis, and the making of plastics.
As the principal component of the pill, this compound allowed women to separate sex from procreation, giving them unprecedented freedom and control over their lives.
An important greenhouse gas. About 8 billion tons are produced each year from the consumption of fossil fuels.
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