OVERRIDE

Your Atomic Self

The Invisible Elements That Connect You to Everything Else in the Universe

Curt Stager

Thomas Dunne Books

What do atoms have to do with your life? In Your Atomic Self, scientist Curt Stager reveals how they connect you to some of the most amazing things in the universe.

You will follow your oxygen atoms through fire and water and from forests to your fingernails. Hydrogen atoms will wriggle into your hair and betray where you live and what you have been drinking. The carbon in your breath will become tree trunks, and the sodium in your tears will link you to long-dead oceans. The nitrogen in your muscles will help to turn the sky blue, the phosphorus in your bones will help to turn the coastal waters of North Carolina green, the calcium in your teeth will crush your food between atoms that were mined by mushrooms, and the iron in your blood will kill microbes as it once killed a star.

You will also discover that much of what death must inevitably do to your body is already happening among many of your atoms at this very moment and that, nonetheless, you and everyone else you know will always exist somewhere in the fabric of the universe.

You are not only made of atoms; you are atoms, and this book, in essence, is an atomic field guide to yourself.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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1

Fires of Life

 

A candle will burn some four, five, six, or seven hours.… Then what becomes of it? Wonderful is it to find that the change produced … is the very life and support of plants and vegetables that grow upon the surface of the earth.

—Michael Faraday

My next breath may very well be in your lungs. Store it wisely, because my life depends on it.

—Jarod Kintz

Take a breath, if you please. You’re about to take one anyway, as you’ve done thirty thousand or so times during the last twenty-four hou

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REVIEWS

Praise for Your Atomic Self

Advance Praise for Your Atomic Self

"Curt Stager is the finest and most entertaining explainer I've ever come across. Read this book and I guarantee you that the world--and your own darned self--will look very different to you in the future."

—Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home

"A wondrous exploration of how our interconnections are vast and abiding, past, present and future."

Kirkus

Curt Stager takes us on a ride into Wonderland, exploring in an intimate way how different atoms and molecules are essential to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. After reading Your Atomic Self, you won’t take even the most basic elements of natural life for granted anymore."

—Neil F. Comins, author of What if the Earth had Two Moons?

"Stager's book is nothing short of a tour-de-force through modern science, viewed through the lens of the chemical elements. Best of all, he succeeds in being scientifically accurate and entertaining at the same time."

—Eric Scerri, author of A Tale of Seven Elements

"Delightful alchemy: Curt Stager transforms atomic science into lustrous, golden stories about the hidden connections that unite us all."

—David George Haskell, author of The Forest Unseen

"Curt Stager is of a rare breed, a gifted scientist with the eyes of an artist and the heart of a poet. Here, he brings the rarefied, invisible realm of atoms to life with surpassing elegance and verve, vividly tracing the circuitous paths by which hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and other elements make their way from outer to inner space. Your Atomic Self will leave even the most knowledgeable reader slack-jawed with newfound appreciation for our wondrous, particulate world."—Lee Billings, author of Five Billion Years of Solitude

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Curt Stager

  • CURT STAGER has a Ph.D. in biology and geology from Duke University. He has been published in Science, National Geographic, and Fast Company, wrote the books Deep Future and Field Notes from the Northern Forest, and co-hosts Natural Selections, a weekly science program on North Country Public Radio. He teaches at Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York and holds a research associate post at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute.

  • Curt Stager
    Curt Stager
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Available Formats and Book Details

Your Atomic Self

The Invisible Elements That Connect You to Everything Else in the Universe

Curt Stager

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Thomas Dunne Books

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