Atom: A Single Oxygen Atom’s Journey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth… and Beyond is an excellent read that combines scientific knowledge from many fields with a decent dose of nerdiness.
What I found most fascinating, for someone more focused on physics and cosmology, was how chemistry fits into the picture: organic and inorganic chemistry and biochemistry as well.
Luckily, Lawrence M. Krauss abstains from anthropomorphizing his lil’ atom too much, even at the price that its story might not be as “gripping” as one might have come to expect from the title.
But that’s by no means an objection. For something to be “gripping,” it usually relies on identification patterns which rely in turn, if it’s not “human,” heavily on figurative language including anthropomorphism, prosopopoeia, or apostrophe. But do we really have to “humanize” everything to be genuinely interested in its fate? I don’t think so—on the contrary. It’s high time we tried and rehearsed being gripped by the fate of something that is neither human, nor humanized.