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A Guide to the Elements (Oxford) Paperback – May 2, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (May 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195150279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195150278
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.7 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,500,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Written for the secondary school student or inquisitive lay reader, this reference book offers a succinct introduction to the chemical elements. Stwertka (physics, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy) has written or coauthored many books that explain scientific concepts at the middle or high school level. He begins his book with a general introduction to the history, theory, and arrangement of the periodic table, then offers a brief (one- to seven-page) article on each of the 112 elements that details its history, chemical and physical properties, and modern applications. The volume concludes with a short glossary and a chronology. Though most of the information can be found in a good encyclopedia set, this one-volume reference is a handy compendium that will complement the science collection of any school or public library.?Wade Lee, Univ. of Toledo Libs., Ohio
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

There is a real need for resources about the elements for secondary students. A Guide to the Elements is on the right track. In the introduction, Stwertka explains the periodic table, its history and layout. He does so in easy-to-understand language without oversimplifying key concepts. Each element, in order of its atomic number, is discussed in one to seven pages, with illustrations, sometimes in color. The book is current through element 112, created in early 1996. Each entry includes the atomic number, chemical symbol, and group in a box, followed by a description of the element's discovery and applications, including its use in consumer products. For example, under nitrogen, the discussion covers the use of nitric acid in fertilizer and explosives. The periodic table is reproduced for each entry, with the element being discussed highlighted. A glossary, a chronology of the discovery of the individual elements, a short further reading list, and an index complete the book. The further reading list consists of 18 books published from 1961 to 1996, some of which may be found in YA collections. A comparison of the guide's entry for neon with those in Encyclopedia Americana and McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology found more detailed information, the kind needed at report time, in the two encyclopedias, but it was not as attractively presented. High-school and public libraries will want to consider purchase, perhaps for the circulating collection.

As for the CD-ROM, boring is the first adjective that comes to mind. It provides very brief information about an element's history and properties. The CD-ROM is easy to install and use, but information is scanty. Audio excerpts include Liverpool poet Roger McGough reciting his poems and Tom Lehrer's humorous song about the elements. There are video clips from the TV series The Elements. The periodic table is shown as gray and red tiles, but the white font makes it hard to read the element number. Again, an encyclopedia will provide more in-depth information in less time than it takes to put the CD in the drive and click on the necessary icons and boxes. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This helps a lot.
J. Gittins
I suspect that any reader, outside of a chemistry instructor, perhaps, will learn something from this endlessly fascinating, well- written and organized book.
Jerald R Lovell
For the armchair science enthusiast, we have an outstanding book explaining the elements of the periodic table, and their signifigance.
ThorBjorn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Diane Gerlach on May 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A Guide to the Elements by Albert Stwertka is an excellent source of information about the history, origin of name, and important/interesting uses of the elements up to atomic number 112. A chronology of the discovery of the elements and many contemporary as well as historical illustrations enhance the information in the text. Information about physical and chemical properties is not included. An excellent companion for the chemistry classroom is Exploring Chemical Elements and their Compounds by David L. Heiserman which has information about chemical and physical properties as well as abundance, allotropes, and isotopes.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. Gittins on August 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
I love chemistry and the elements, and this book didn't let me down. It is very interesting to ready and covers most areas about each of the compounds. It also lists the major uses and even some of the health problems associated with the elements. The pictures are also very good. The pictures represent the elements themselves or the uses of the elements. This helps a lot. There are only two small things I don't like about the book. First, it doesn't give much basic information. I would recommend "Exploring Chemical Elements and their Compounds" by David L. Heiserman. The two books together create a treasure trove of information. The other problem is just a small one. The author focues a lot on the uses in radioactive procedures. I guess that doesn't interest me too much. Otherwise this is a great book! I would suggest you get this book for personal use or even for schooling purposes.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jerald R Lovell on October 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
There are at least 112 chemical elements, all of which but a few comprise the entire world as we know it. This book covers each element seperately, in order, from hydrogen to the various transuranium elemnts that only exist for mere seconds in laboratories. Each element's atomic weight, valence(s), and various uses are given. Also given is the human history of each element, including its discovery and the origin of its name.
I suspect that any reader, outside of a chemistry instructor, perhaps, will learn something from this endlessly fascinating, well- written and organized book. Many general principles of chemistry rub off as well, and for the student or interested layman, this is a highly useful, easily readable, and understandable book about chemistry. A true jewel, and I rate it highly.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ThorBjorn on August 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
For the armchair science enthusiast, we have an outstanding book explaining the elements of the periodic table, and their signifigance. Its one of those books, when opened at random, provides fascinating reading wherever you start. In this fine book, learn about the periodic table and its components, how they relate, and how they are utilized in modern technology and industry.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By BHP on December 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lets be honest. For starters in chemistry, learning about all the elements and what they do in reactions can be overwhelming with all the pressure for doing well in school. What better way to learn about elements than a fun and leisurely reading. This book is packed with information about almost all of the elements, the more important elements obviously getting more extensive treatment. Reading this book before you take your school or college chemistry will be the most rewarding experience. Not only will it make you appreciate the nature of each element that exists in our universe but also make you sound like a genius when you and your friends are talking about even the most common elements such as oxygen or hydrogen. Oh, there are lots of cool photos and pictures too!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By dream factory on April 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderful read for the renaissance man/woman who is interested in a diversity of topics. An easily digested book which entertains while educating. A highly recommended comprehensive (not burdensome) book. If you are into such matters David Hawkins 3 vol. set is your bed time companion (out of print?). But for my fulfillment this informative book is perfect. Controlled fusion, catalytic converters, lightning, diamonds, Yellowstone, bullets, moonrocks - - a beautiful world of elements surrounds us. Mr. Stwertka brings life to the Periodic table.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Feral Puma on February 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
I think it's safe to assume that chemistry is a class that the vast majority of people dread taking. 7 years old or 100, it doesn't matter, this book is the perfect introduction. Do you think that chemistry is a world that someone like you could never understand? Think again, because by the time you're done with the short introduction to this book, you will understand chemistry. After the introduction, the rest of the book is setup in a very comfortable way with interesting stories and information about each individual element. I'd recommend reading on a couple of those elements in the book, and then getting another book, Chemistry for Dummies by John T. Moore. At which point read the Dummies book and the Stwertka book at the same time. Depending on how quickly you can pick it up, it might take you a year to finish them both or it may take only two months. Planning ahead and getting them both read before you even take your chemistry class would be the ideal situation, do that and it's 100% guaranteed that you will coast right through your HS Chemistry course and possibly through a couple college ones afterwards as well. I've looked through all of the chemistry books in Border's Books & Barnes n Noble, but everything seemed to be way too confusing for an introduction. Except for this book and the Dummies book, which are a Godsend for someone like me, to actually learn a subject that, if you ask me, many people seem not able or willing to teach very well.
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