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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
Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
"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.
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
I love this book. Very visually appealing and informative. Great book to add to my collection.Published 14 hours ago by Mindy E. Scalzetti
Great book providing interesting/usful info on the elements. A must for teachers of chemistry.Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
don't think I'm able to add anything more to what's already been written. I think I may have enjoyed more than my 8th grader studying chemistryPublished 5 days ago by FEM
I wish I had this book when I was struggling with chemistry back in high school. My daughter will soon finish her undergraduate degree in Chemistry and I thought she might enjoy... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
Awesome book, explains elements and their typical uses in language the layman understands. I first saw this book being read by a mid-teen and thought, "That looks very... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Wayfinder
Homeschooling family and this is a great, easy to understand addition to our curriculum. Bright colored and easy to read and learn!!Published 1 month ago by Jen Mc
It's pretty neat to read through the elements and get information about each of them and see what they look like in there purest form.Published 1 month ago by Charlie Leiva
This was a gift for my son, and the review would be better comi9ng from him.Published 1 month ago by C. Schlup