The foolishness of Prometheus

Prometheus had been foolish to bestow fire on men instead of selling it to them; he would have made money, placated Jove, and avoided all that trouble with the vulture.

That is the latest installment of Primo Levi; by the way, I also loved the story of how

… ammonium chloride, …completely useless and probably a bit harmful,

got to be

religiously ground into the chromate anti-rust paint, …, and nobody knows why anymore.

The more I read Levi, the more I get the feeling that he is the Shiela Dhar of Chemistry!

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2 Responses to “The foolishness of Prometheus”

  1. Mathew Says:

    I didn’t recognize this quote was from Primo Levi, time to the periodic table another read. This book was originally recommended to me by a chemistry teacher at college, I read it about 6 years later.

    I always think of the story about the paint formulation, were an additive remained in the paint to solve a problem that no longer existed.

  2. Guru Says:

    Dear Mathew,

    Yes; Periodic table is worth many re-reads. I also got recommendations for the book quite a while back, and I even bought the book several months ago; however, only now I got a chance to finish reading it and enjoyed the experience thoroughly.

    By the way, the paint additive that you mention is the ammonium chloride I mention above in the post.

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