Napoleons Buttons (

In December of 1812, Napoleon's army consisting of 600,000 men was marching toward Russia. His Forces up until this time had been unmatched and undefeated. One reason for the downfall of unstoppable French army was army uniforms themselves. All of the army's clothing, spanning from the highest general to the most lowly private, had tin buttons sewn on to their uniforms. When exposed to the bitter cold, as Napoleons army encountered in Russia, tin disintegrates into a fine powder. Was the army, as their buttons and uniforms fell apart, so weakened by the cold that it could not function? Were men using their hands to hold together their garments instead of carrying vital supplies? Could the disintegration of something as small as a tin button led to the downfall of one of the greatest armies throughout history? (Le Couteur & Burreson 1-19)

Most historians believe this explanation of Napoleon's defeat to be unlikely, but this theory demonstrates the extent to which everyday elements and molecules and their properties could affect and change the course of history. Napoleon's Button's explores 17 molecules that had a vast and profound effect on history.(Le Couteur & Burreson 1-19)