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Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe Hardcover – October 1, 2009
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"I don't know if this is the first coffee-table book paying lush photographic homage to the periodic table, but it is certainly the most gorgeous one I've seen." —John Tierney, The New York Times
"The Elements is a loving reimagination of the classic table." —Wired
"Gray's trademark dry wit and historical anecdotes bring even the most basic lumps to life." —Popular Science
"A great mix of science and art." —Discover
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Top Customer Reviews
"Sodium is the most explosive and the best tasting of all the alkali metals"
"Disposable oxygen tanks for hobby brazing and as a refreshing pick-me-up..."
"So many important chemicals have been discovered by accident that one has to wonder what a bunch of bumblers chemists are"
"Bananas are high in potassium, thus both healthy and radioactive."
"This piece of the mineral thorite might contain an atom of francium, if you watch closely."
He's also quite informative. For example, some of you may have taken exception to his comment on sodium, which he explains on the page about cesium:
"Cesium is widely listed as the most reactive of all the alkali metals, and technically it is. When you drop a piece in a bowl of water it *instantly* explodes, sending water flying in all directions. But that doesn't mean it makes the biggest bang of the alkali metals. Sodium takes longer to explode when tossed into water but the whole time you're waiting, a plume of hydrogen gas is building up, and when all that hydrogen ignites, the explosion is much bigger than anything you can get with cesium"
Sounds like some important research there!
Or this fact that makes perfect sense, though I never really thought about it:
"Even lead will float on mercury"
Overall just an excellent, easily readable, pretty, thought-provoking book.
It is a beautiful book, with excellent photography and very high resolution printing on a semi-matte black paper which gives the pictures a floating-in-space quality. About my only gripe is that this is the sort of paper that tends to absorb oil from your fingers and acquire permanent fingerprints, so one has to take a bit of care to keep it looking nice.
The bulk of the book consists of a two-page spread for each of elements 1 through 100. The left hand side of each spread will be a full-page image, typically of the element in its native mineral or a refined form, or some object constructed of the material etc. The right hand page contains a few paragraphs of interesting information/trivia about the element, as well as several images of items from the author's collection of objects made of, containing, or otherwise related to it.
For each there are also some pertinent facts such as its position in the periodic table, and diagrams of the atomic emission spectrum, the melting and boiling points, electron order filling, crystal structure, and some basic numerical facts of atomic weight, density, and radius.
There's also some introductory material and additional discussion of elements 101-118.
This is not a formal reference work in any sense. It's a picture book along with interesting trivia and information. But it is also a fabulously entertaining tour of the elements that make up our world, and it's an absolute joy to curl up with and browse through. A very satisfying thing to possess.Read more ›
I opened my newly received copy late at night, intending to look at a few pages before bed. I literally could not put it down, and read it straight through from hydrogen to element 118, so newly discovered it doesn't even have a name yet. Each element's vignette smoothly segues into the next, so it works like an old radio serial melodrama - you just have to keep reading to find out what happens next!
Each element is covered in its order in the periodic table. Along with the multiple photos of pure elements and common (matches and nails) and exotic (atomic clocks and lasers) things containing them from Gray's extensive museum quality collection, you will learn trivia about ones you know well (aluminum, a metal so precious that Napoleon preferred it to gold for VIP dinnerware, is now thrown in the garbage after wrapping sandwiches); ones you might remember from high school (poisonous bromine is in every can of Orange Crush); and ones you probably never heard of (you are required by law to put radioactive americium in every one of your children's bedrooms, and you have!) Lovely diagrams show the electronic configuration, color spectrum and crystal shape. Melting and boiling point bars at the page margins cleverly form a graphic demonstration of the elements' periodic properties when the book is fanned open.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great visual aid with helpful miscellaneous info for anyone learning chemistry.Published 1 day ago by Michelle
This book is awesome! A perfect mix of hard facts, images, and fun stories.Published 3 days ago by J.A.W.
Beautiful photography and explanations are excellent. Purchased for my chemistry minded grandson. He liked it and had a hard time putting it down to look at the next gift.Published 5 days ago by J. McClain
This book is so very good. It tells of uses for each element and some are surprising. Yes, Science related, but really interesting to most.Published 5 days ago by bevo
I am disappointed with the photos of elements. In many cases, they do not reflect the real appearance of elements. I also found the text not to be very interesting. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Maxim
Got one for myself last year and gave one to a teenage relative this Christmas. He is into science and liked it very much.Published 11 days ago by Cat Lady
I wish I had this book when I was at the school studying Chemistry, it would have made it much more interesting and informative. Great book for any age!Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
My 14 yr old loves this. Great photos and vivid colors, make it eye candy as well as educational.Published 13 days ago by Susan