From Kit's list on science stories you won’t believe are true.
A bona fide classic of scientific memoir and short stories, Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table has been considered the gold standard of science writing since it was published. Levi writes about different events in his life, linking them with a different elements on the periodic table. There are many great chapters in his book, but it can be a tough read at times: Levi was imprisoned in the Auschwitz concentration camp, where his skills as a chemist saved him from certain death in the gas chambers at the hands of the Nazis.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
An extraordinary kind of autobiography in which each of the 21 chapters takes its title and its starting-point from one of the elements in the periodic table. Mingling fact and fiction, science and personal record, history and anecdote, Levi uses his training as an industrial chemist and the terrible years he spent as a prisoner in Auschwitz to illuminate the human condition. Yet this exquisitely lucid text is also humourous and even witty in a way possible only to one who has looked into the abyss.