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The many lives of carbon

Hessen, D. O. (Dag Olav)2017
"In its pure form carbon can the soft graphite in a pencil or an immensely hard diamond. It is the basic building block of most of the cells in our bodies. Carbon attracts, and one of the most crucial relationships it forms is with oxygen, producing carbon dioxide, the gas vital to life on earth. This is the story of a chemical element, C, its myriad properties and its life cycle. It is the story of a balance between photosynthesis and cell respiration, between building and burning, life and death. Dag Olav Hessen navigates us through an exploration of the existence of carbon in minerals and rocks, wood and rainforests, and of carbon's role in processes such as the greenhouse effect and the carbon cycles, on both small and large scales. He explores the burning issue of climate change: how will ecosystems respond to global change? How bad could things get? Will the world's ecosystems recover? And what are our moral obligations? Neither alarmist nor moralistic, Hessen takes the reader on a journey from the atom to our planet in informative, compelling prose"--Dust jacket.
Main title:
The many lives of carbon / Dag Olav Hessen ; [English translation by Kerri Pierce].
London : Reaktion Books, 2017.
261 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Translation of C. Karbon : en uautorisert biografi. Originally published by Cappelen Damm AS, Oslo.Includes bibliographical references (pages 231-250) and index.
Part I. Carbon, carbon everywhere -- Carbon in everything -- Fire explained -- The master of disguise : soft, hard and round -- Nylon tights and their descendants -- Carbon on wheels -- Plastic fantastic -- Synthias as a carbon company -- To build and to burn : carbon in the life equation -- From C3 to C4-- and the world's most important protein -- Atomic physic's solution to photosynthesis -- Photosynthesis in reverse -- Good neighbors -- C and 4H : a hot partnership -- The benefits of methane -- Archaea -- Part II. The C in cycle. The Keeling curve -- A Swede before his time -- One or many cycles? -- Pyramids, chains and webs -- The carbon Queen Emiliania -- Borealis -- Paradise lost -- The long carbon cycle -- The anthropocene -- Gaia and feedbacks -- Bluer and more acidic -- Methane bombs -- Between a snowball and hell -- Oxygen's evolution -- Nitrogen and phosphorus : the great circulatory -- Changes -- Part III. The footprint. Paradise lost II -- Show size -- How bad are bananas? -- Petroholism's withdrawal -- Afterlives.
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