“[C]harming. . . . Aldersey-Williams writes with simplicity and elegance. The stories may not help you on your next chemistry test, but they’ll help you appreciate the building blocks that are all around us yet all too easy to overlook.” (Associated Press)
“A lucid, enjoyable collection . . . that, element by element, demystifies the iconic periodic table.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Aldersey-Williams’s playful, hands-on approach to scientific exploration shines through the book.” (Boston Globe)
For the UK edition: “[F]ascinating and beautiful. . . . If only chemistry had been like this at school. . . . [A] rich compilation of delicious tales.” (Matt Ridley, Prospect magazine)
From the Back Cover
Like the alphabet, the calendar, or the zodiac, the periodic table of the chemical elements has a permanent place in our imagination. But aside from the handful of common ones (iron, carbon, copper, gold), the elements themselves remain wrapped in mystery. We do not know what most of them look like, how they exist in nature, how they got their names, or of what use they are to us. Unlocking their astonishing secrets and colorful pasts, Periodic Tales is a passionate journey through mines and artists’ studios, to factories and cathedrals, into the woods and to the sea to discover the true stories of these fascinating but mysterious building blocks of the universe.