The Secret Life of Dust: From the Cosmos to the Kitchen Counter, the Big Consequences of Little Things - Hannah Holmes

Category: Science

A mesmerizing expedition around our dusty world.

Some see dust as dull and useless stuff. But in the hands of author Hannah Holmes, it becomes a dazzling and mysterious force; Dust, we discover, built the planet we walk upon. And it tinkers with the weather and spices the air we breathe. Billions of tons of it rise annually into the air - the dust of deserts and forgotten kings mixing with volcanic ash, sea salt, leaf fragments, scales from butterfly wings, shreds of T-shirts, and fireplace soot. Eventually, though, all this dust must settle.

The story of restless dust begins among exploding stars, then treks through the dinosaur beds of the Gobi Desert, drills into Antarctic glaciers, filters living dusts from the wind, and probes the dark underbelly of the living-room couch. Along the way, Holmes introduces a delightful cast of characters - the scientists who study dust. Some investigate its dark side: how it killed off dinosaurs and how its industrial descendents are killing us today. Others sample the shower of Saharan dust that nourishes Caribbean jungles, or venture into the microscopic jungle of the bedroom carpet. Like The Secret Life of Dust, however, all of them unveil the mayhem and magic wrought by little things.

00. Introduction

01. The World in a Grain of Dust

02. Life and Death among the Stars

03. A Light and Intriguing Rain of Space Dust

04. The (Deadly) Dust of Deserts

05. A Steady Upward Rain of Dust

06. Dust on the Wind Heeds No Borders

07. Did Dust Do In the Ice Age?

08. A Steady Downward Rain of Dust