Our world and our bodies are immensely complex chemical systems - everything in life and matter comes down to chemistry in the end. Great advances in human history have often rested on and prompted progress in chemistry.
The exploitation of fire, the development of pigments, and the discovery that metals could be smelted and worked laid the foundations of civilization. The search for better tools and weapons drove metallurgy, and the need for medicines and perfumes lay behind the first laboratories.
Chemistry became a science after it was divorced from alchemy, when the scientific method was applied by luminaries such as Francis Bacon and Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier. This book traces a story of exploration and discovery and of how humans took control of the world and used chemistry to modify it.