The Devil’s Element #624

April 24, 2023

With fertilizers that supply phosphorus–what Asimov called “life’s bottleneck”– people broke the circle of life. Dan Egan’s new book The Devil’s Element traces the history of this essential element from curiosity to crop miracle. Egan documents the mayhem unleashed by a flood of phosphorus, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and discusses how people can act to stop phosphorus-fueled blooms of algae that are closing beaches, killing animals and sickening people.


  • Dan Egan
Listen Now

Guest Bios

Dan Egan

Dan Egan is the author of New York Times bestseller The Death and Life of the Great Lakes. A journalist in residence at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Sciences, he is a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with his wife and children.