Learning about chemistry through poisons and murders
If you really want to develop an appreciation for those early pathologists who went so far as to taste-tested truly horrible samples from corpses to establish a system for detecting poisons, read a new book by US-based physiology and biophysics professor Neil Bradbury. We discuss Eleven Deadly Molecules and the Killers who used them: A Taste for Poison in our final episode of the Chemistry World Book Club podcast series. Combining chemistry and biology with true crime, this book is ripped straight from news headlines and is also based on historical records.
Bradbury recounts for us his life-long fascination with science as well as murder mysteries, and how he long-dreamed of using his biochemistry training to write a book delving into process by which various poisons kill a person – what these compounds actually do inside the body. He also discusses narrowing down the book’s scope to the 11 poisons and related murders that are featured.