SPOILER ALERT!

Napoleon's Buttons: Chapter 17 - Molecules vs Malaria

Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History - Jay Burreson, Penny Le Couteur

... in which we learn about mosquitoes, malaria and quinine.

 

"Quinine, DDT, and hemoglobin—these three very different structures are united historically by their connections to one of our world’s greatest killers. ...Quinine is a naturally occurring plant product, as are many compounds that have had far-reaching effects on the development of civilization. Hemoglobin too is a natural product, but of animal origin. As well, hemoglobin belongs to the group of molecules classified as polymers, and again polymers of all types have been instrumental in major changes throughout history. And DDT illustrates the dilemmas often associated with man-made compounds. How different our world would be—for better or for worse—without synthetic substances produced through the ingenuity of those who create new molecules."