Science for Everyone – Silhouttes of Chemistry

In the Science for Everyone Series we now come to Silhouttes of Chemistry by D. N. Trifonov and L. G. Vlasov. This one is for all the people who were waiting for chemistry books.

The back cover of the book says:

The authors of this book have endeavoured to touch upon
the most important and interesting problems of chemistry.
Their book describes and explains the structure of the
Periodic System of elements; it guides you through a kind
of chemical museum full of curious exhibits; it tells of the
intricate substances chemists have produced and how they
have learned to work even with single atoms of the elements;
it acquaints you with the various chemical professions
and shows how chemistry has penetrated all spheres
of human activity.
Reading these short but instructive stories about the exciting discoveries of chemistry will urge you to find out more about this fascinating science and to take up chemistry seriously.

This is a book that eluded me for years, and finally when I got it it was by surprise. The book was translated from the Russian by David Sobolev and Andrei Konyaev and this second edition was published by Mir in 1987.

Update July 2020 The Internet Archive Link

Update: As mir_fan commented, there is another cover “(some folks rearranging H and C atoms)”, reproduced below and published previously as 107 Stories About Chemistry, contents being the same. And thanks to him we also know that there is a Malayalam translation of this book.

Also there is an Hindi translation as the cover above suggests, but I do not have any other information.

Update: We came to know about Telgu and Tamil translations as well.

The contents of book are as follows:

Instead of a Preface

The Inhabitants of the Big House

A Bird’s-Eye View of the Periodic System
How the Astronomers Sent the Chemists on a Wild Goose Chase
A Two-Faced Element
The First and the Most Surprising
How Many Hydrogens Are There on Earth?
More Facts About the Architecture of the Periodic System
The Triumph of Logic
How Chemists Came Across the Unexpected
A Solution Which Brought No Consolation
The Search for a “Crazy” Idea, or How the Inert
Gases Stopped Being Inert
Zero or Eighth?
The “Omnivorous”
Hennig Brand’s “Philosopher’s Stone”
The Odour of Freshness, or the Transition of Quantity into Quality Exemplified
So Simple and Yet So Wonderful
“lee, Not Yet Firm, on the Cold Little River…”
How Many Waters Are There on Earth?
“Water of Life”, Life-Giving, Omnipresent Water
The Icicle’s Secrets
A Bit of Linguistics, or Two Very Different Things
Why “Two Very Different Things”?
Two More “Whys”
Originality in Architecture
Fourteen Twins
The World of Metals and Its Paradoxes
Liquid Metals and a Gaseous (?) Metal
Unusual Compounds
The First “Electronic Computer” in Chemistry
A Hitch in the “Electronic Computer”
How to Change One Element into Another
Seventeen Steps beyond Uranium
Mortality and Immortality in the World of Elements
One, Two, Three, Many…
Has Nature Been lust?
On the Track of False Suns
The Fate of One of the Hundred and Nine
Where Is Thy Place, Uranium?
Little Stories from Archeology
“Mirrors” of the Periodic Law
Where Is the Limit?
The “Relative Stability Islands” (RSI) Hypothesis
“Computer” Chemistry
Element Register

Snake With Its Tail in Its Mouth

The Spirit of Chemical Science
Lightning and Tortoises
The Magic Barrier
A Few Words About Equilibrium
How to Make a Tortoise Go Like “Lightning”
and Vice Versa
Chain Reactions
How Chemistry Made Friends with Electricity
Enemy Number One…
…And How to Fight It
A Luminous 1et
The Sun as a Chemist
Why Do Elements Combine?
Chemistry and Radiation
One of the Longest Reactions

A Chemical Museum

Some General Ideas
The Reason for Diversity and Its Consequences
Chemical Rings
A Third Possibility 164
A Few Words About Complex Compounds 168
A Surprise in a Simple Compound 170
What Humphry Davy Did Not Know 172
26, 28, or Something Quite Remarkable 174
A Eulogy to Cadet’s Liquid 176
The Story of TEL t 79
Unusual Sandwiches 182
Strange Whims of Carbon Monoxide 185
Oxygen Plus Fluorine 189
Red and Green 191
The Most Unusual Atom, the Most Unusual Chemistry 192
Diamond Again 194
The Unknown Underfoot 196
When the Same Is Not the Same at All 198

With Its Eyes

A Word on the Use of Analysis 201
To Make Good Gunpowder 202
How Cermanium Was Discovered 204
Light and Colour 206
Chemical Analysis of  … the SUN 209
Waves and Substance 211
It’s Only a Drop of Mercury That Does It 214
A Chemical Prism 216
How Promethium Was Discovered 218
Aromas of a Wild Strawberry Patch 221
The Diagnosis After Three Centuries 222
Activation Analysis 225
The Chemistry of Single Atoms 227
An Amazing Number 229

Chemistry Spreads Wide.

Diamonds Once More
Endless Molecules
An Adamantine Heart and the Hide of a Rhinoceros
Union of Carbon and Silicon
Remarkable Sieves
Chemical Claws
A Little Excursion into the History of Chemistry
Chemistry in a White Coat
A Miracle from Mould
Microelements-the Vitamins of Plants
What Plants Eat and What Chemistry Has to Do With It
A Little Analogy, or How Chemists Fed Potassium to Plants
The “Nitrogen Crisis”
What Is Phosphorus for?
Chemical Warfare
The Farmer’s Helpers
Chemical Sources of Energy
Ghosts That Serve

A Long Afterword

So What Is Chemistry?
Two Revolutions in Chemistry
The Main Feature of Modern Chemistry
Inorganic Chemistry Plus Organic Chemistry
How Many Chemistries Are There?
At the Crossroads of Chemistry and Physics
Does the Science of Chemistry Exist at All?
In the Boundless Ocean of Facts 

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16 Responses to Science for Everyone – Silhouttes of Chemistry

  1. Muthuvel says:



  2. mir_fan says:

    Awesome ! I have Malayalam translation of this book as a child and it was absolutely fantastic. Malayalam translation of book had heading as “101 Stories in chemistry” and had a different image as cover (some chinese folks rearranging H and C atoms)
    BTW looks like actual publication of this is far earlier (1970), check google books “100 stories in chemistry” . They renamed to this one in this science for everyone series

    Many Many thanks !


  3. Here i am listing those books which i am aware of here we go :
    1.Quantitative Analysis by Vladimir Nikolaevich Alexeyev by MIR Publishers, 1969
    2.Collection of Problems and Exercises in Analytical Chemistry by AA Yaroslavtsev by Mir Publishers, 1981
    3.Test your knowledge of Chemistry by V.V. Sorokin – E.G. Zlotnikov by Mir Publishers
    4.Liquid Crystals by S. Pikin and L.M. Blinov by Mir Publishers
    5.Course of Analytical Chemistry in Qualitative Analysis by A. Kreshkov and A. Yaroslavtsev by Mir Publishers
    6.Physical Chemistry Course vol.1 and vol.2 by Ya.Guerasimov by Mir Publishers
    7.Theoretical Foundations of Electrochemical by B. Damaskin and O. Petri by Mir Publishers
    8.Diamonds are prepared by chemists by B. Deriaguin and D. Fedoseyev by Mir Publishers
    9.General Metallurgy by V.G. Voskoboinikov by Mir Publishers
    10.Experimental Methods of Chemical Kinetics by G. Sergeev by Mir Publishers
    11.Practices of General Inorganic Chemistry in Laboratory by V. Semishin by Mir Publishers
    12.Problems and Exercises in Quantitative Analysis by A. Musakin by Mir Publishers
    13.Problems and exercises in general chemistry by N.L. Glinka by Mir Publishers
    14.Problems and exercises in inorganic chemistry by S.N. Savitsky – N.P. Tverdovski by Mir Publishers
    15.General Chemistry by B.V. Nekrasov by Mir Publishers
    16.Organic Chemistry by V.M. Potapov and S.N. Tatarinchik by Mir Publishers
    17.Chemistry for everyone by GB Shulpin by Mir Publishers ((Popular Science series))
    18.Recreational Chemistry by L. Vlasov and D. Trifonov by Mir Publishers
    19.Qualitative Chemical semi micro analysis by V.N. Alexeyev by Mir Publishers
    20.Chemical Thermodynamics by A.N. Krestovnikov by Mir Publishers


    • damitr says:

      I think we already had Recreational Chemistry by L. Vlasov and D. Trifonov by Mir Publishers as Silhouettes of Chemistry. Link dead now.

      In future we will have the following

      Space Chemistry – Nikolaev
      From Crystal to Solution – Krestov, Kobenin
      Energy Entropy – Alekseev
      Metals and Man – Vasiylev
      Tales About Metals – Venetsky
      Practical Inorganic Chemistry – Vorobyova et al
      Chemistry Defintions
      Molecules without chemical bonds – Dmitriev
      In the realm of catalysis – Afansiev, Zaikov

      And following books on chemistry by gnv64

      Chemical Elements How They Were Discovered – Trifonov and Trifonov
      Elementary Order – Petryanov Trifonov
      On Rare and Scattered Metals (More Tales About Metals) – Venetsky
      Extraordinary properties of ordinary solutions – Fialkov
      Experiments without Explosions – Olgin


  4. Bhaskar says:

    The link is broken. Would very muck like to read this book and i couldn’t find it elsewhere . thanks


  5. Adithya says:

    I was searching for this book for a long time, would greatly appreciate if you could upload it once again. thanks


  6. Mark Kutty says:

    Thanks a ton for you website. Feeling very nostalgic about most of the books 🙂 This is a book which got me interested in chemistry. Unfortunately, the link is broken. Can you please upload it again? Also, I would suggest you put up a torrent will all the books and I am sure many of us would be glad to seed it.


  7. Pingback: Some suggested literature for Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry for students in age group 11-17 years | sjmbitspilani

  8. one of the most wonderful book is transurania.I had a copy which was given to a friend and never got back.can you please upload it . i would like to read it again.


  9. chicolucio says:

    The link is broken. Can someone upload again?


  10. A95M says:

    Can you please add the internet archive link??


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