Flicks & Folios – Book Review: Our Friend The Atom

I recently signed up for a 6-credit course in Anatomy and Physiology from AU. Those of you who know the course may know how intense it is. Quite a head full! I’m taking it for a couple of reasons.

First, while I’m getting a B.A. with a major in Psychology, I continue to do Craniosacral Therapy as my main form of healing. This involves a great deal of anatomy information and I often find myself a little lost in the neurology portion of the intensive courses I attend twice yearly.

Second, I’m required to have a science credit in my B.A. program and frankly the Astronomy and other science-based courses just don’t ring my bell.

The course includes intensive information on the functions of the human atom. I admit my brain was trying to snooze while I read the sections on this subject, so I found myself wondering how on earth I could get through this in a test. If I can’t pay attention to the text -what happens in absorbing the final information??

In our courses in Psychology we will probably touch on Carl Jung’s Synchronicity theory at some point. I have already bumped into it in the craniosacral courses I mentioned and by elective reading. It constantly amazed the participants in my most recent craniosacral course, that we kept running into the synchronicity theory in action during our class. I personally have a wedding anniversary of June 14th; the client I’m working on had a life-changing car crash on the same date.

People would go over and talk to someone and give a brief history of their life and mention cities and occupations. The person they were talking to had the same occupation and worked in the same city!! It got kind of freaky after a while.

The book, Our Friend the Atom, by the Disney Corporation was a case of synchronicity. As I read the anatomy textbook I thought of finding help on the subject of atoms and its complex history and walked into a Co-op store. I always browse books so I stopped at the book swap. I found this book and flipped through. Pow! Instant help.

It’s a good read too. I wouldn’t say it is written for the small fry that a Disney book usually is aimed at. The history of atomic energy is presented in a straightforward and intelligent manner. I don’t think this is the topic of reading for little Cindy while she’s trying to fall asleep in her crib! Yet if you have older students trying to make sense of those pesky courses in DNA or understand how to build an atomic bomb in your garage”?this is a helpful book.

Some of the needed background on the discovery of the atom is covered and while it’s painted in a very “the atom’s our best friend” light, it is well written and clearly presented. The fact that it’s not written in science mumbo jumbo is always helpful.

Radioactivity is also covered so we are able to understand some of the extra areas of the science which might use an atom in producing heat or blowing up pesky enemies!! (Please understand the issue of book I have is dated 1962. That’s six years and seven printings after this book first came out! The world was very different then).

Information on Madam Curie and her work is introduced and the theory of Brownian Movement is explained in a concise manner. The many scientists’ work being paraphrased in the book is helpful in reiterating textbook responses for assignment questions I am slogging through in the Anatomy and Physiology course.

Maybe you are doing the nursing course in AU and you want a little help thinking about x-rays and how they came about? It’s here. Frankly I never knew about the x-ray because I was part of a group of students in school who habitually nodded off in science class. Go figure how I managed to get 90s in final exams?! Maybe I was absorbing information while sleeping!

The information in the book includes topics such as basic information on the sun. When I’m working on an assignment I like to have as many good sources as possible. I think even an astronomy student might want to look into this book.

Of course the basic electron, proton, neutron stuff is also here. The topic is brought together well and turns into a quick and interesting read. I think maybe you’re getting the idea that I’m a fan of the straightforward information source -right? Guilty as charged.

Are there any drawbacks to this text?

Well, yes. In this day and age where young kids are now completely “grossed out” over black and white movies there is a solid drawback. In this version of the book (a tiny pocketbook) there are only black and white drawings but it is a good job and some of the drawings are kind of helpful.

I am also aware of a version of this book that is harder to find (except for pricey amounts on Ebay!) that is illustrated in color.

This book is hard to find but in opinion a good addition to learning about a heavy science subject. Good luck.

Laura Seymour first published herself, at age 8. She has since gone on to publish a cookbook for the medical condition Candida. She is working toward her B.A. (Psyc).