Primo Levi’s haunting memoir of life as a Jew in Mussolini’s Italy told through the unlikely metaphor of chemistry has been named the best science book ever written.
The Periodic Table, published in 1975, fought off competition from Richard Dawkins, DNA legend James Watson, Tom Stoppard, Bertolt Brecht and Charles Darwin to win the vote at an event organised by the Royal Institution in London.
“This book pinions my awareness to the solidity of the world around me,” said former Guardian science editor Tim Radford, who was the book’s advocate at the event. “The science book is the ultimate in non-fiction,” he told the Guardian’s weekly science podcast. “You’ve got the entire universe and the entire sub-atomic world to choose from and everything that has happened in it.”
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