"Entertainingly historical and touches on quite large themes like the nature of the scientific method...Overall this stylish and snappy book will entertain and enlighten you, and its convenient size means it can do so while you're on the go." -- Chemistry World
"Although entitled A Very Short Introduction, this book of 140 or so pages still manages to pack in a substantial amount of information. Usefully proportioned, so as to fit neatly in my raincoat pocket, I found that during spells waiting to catch a train, I could learn an awful lot from it." -- Josh Howgego, Royal Society of Chemisty
"The reader will have a good understanding of the main features of the periodic table's development, and will certainly be left with the impression that the story of the table has by no means ended." - Peter Hodder, HodderBalog Social and Scientific Research, Wellington, New Zealand
"I especially was fascinated by the discussion of the many alternative forms of the periodic table -- ranging from trees to spirals -- both from a scientific and philosophical point of view. By the telling the multi-faceted story of the periodic table, the reader gains an appreciation for the scientific method and for how science is really done." -- The Guardian
"The author's personal enthusiasm for the subject and his wide ranging historical and philosophical perspectives are clear in the text and add greatly to the appeal of this book. This book should be on the reading list for all chemists." -- Alan Goodwin, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, Journal of Science Education
Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Library Review
"Despite its pocket size, this brief book offers rich, fascinating historical accounts of the scientific achievements associated with the periodic table...Highly recommended. All levels/libraries." -- M. W. Han, Columbus State Community College, Choice
"Scerri's writing is lively, engaging, and accessible. Although written for a general audience ... The Periodic Table, A Very Short Introduction is recommended as a supplementary text for high school chemistry courses, introductory chemistry course for undergraduates, and courses in the history and philosophy of science." --Journal of Chemical Education
"I am pleased to recommend highly Scerri's contribution to the [Very Short Introductions] series, which would make an ideal modestly priced gift to anyone interested in the 'central icon' of the 'central science,' especially students and young persons in general." --Foundations of Chemistry
From the Author
In writing this book I took the opportunity to update and correct many points from my earlier more in-depth book on the periodic table. That book has been reviewed in about 60 journals in chemistry, history of science, philosophy of science and science education. It is a privilege to be invited to write for the Oxford VSI or "Very Short Introduction" Series and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. I could not have asked for better support from the people at Oxford University Press.
One whole area that was not mentioned very much in the first book was the synthesis of elements beyond element 92. There is an entire chapter devoted to this topic in my VSI on the periodic table. There is also an extended discussion of alternative forms of the periodic table, from a scientific and philosophical point of view.
Please visit my new website at
for more information about my work, the periodic table and the elements.