Monday, September 19, 2011

This is the $7,683.96 Book You've Been Looking For

The $7,683.96 dollar reference book is titled Selected Nuclear Materials and Engineering Systems (Landolt-Börnstein: Numerical Data and Functional Relationships in Science and Technology - New Series / Physical Chemistry).

This 520 page hardcover is available from amazon. (Only one left in stock. More on the way!) For $7,683.96 you get a dry compilation of phase diagrams for radioactive alloys of uranium and plutonium: see the figure above right. Such phase diagrams are probably important for making atomic bombs. Perhaps a Kindle edition would be easier to read than the 3+ pound hardback, but sadly the ebook is no longer an option. Perhaps too many folks downloaded the ebook as a joke and then returned it. Or maybe the phase diagrams weren't visible as gray on gray.

In any case, the (fake) five star reviews are hilarious. Here's one of my favorites:
Transcending Stereotypes

I know what you're thinking : crystallographic and thermodynamic data of ternary alloy systems is a such a hackneyed plot device. But Landolt-Börnstein work their magic in such a subtle and layered way that at 3am when you are reading just one more page, you suddenly realise how they have completely turned everything on its head and produced the most breathtakingly original work. Not to mention the most spellbinding.

It is a little lightweight on the intellectual side and perhaps should be included in the tweens section, but overall well worth 5 stars. I got it before the 20% discount became available and am delighted. So it really is an absolute steal right now.

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