Top positive review
207 people found this helpful
Will look great on any table, periodic or otherwise
on October 7, 2009
The Elements is a photographic tour de force of items from Theo Gray's personal collection of element samples. If he were to put on a museum show or do a PBS series, this would be the companion 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.
It also vividly demonstrates that there will still be a place for physical books for a long time, no matter how successful devices like the Kindle are. This is one you need to hold in your hands rather than read on some kind of screen (no matter how good).
This book gets firmly placed on my list of must-haves for anyone interested in science and the nature of our world and the universe. Very appropriate for science fans of any age.