Elements

Overview

This Very Short Introduction is an exciting and non-traditional approach to understanding the terminology, properties, and classification of chemical elements. It traces the history and cultural impact of the elements on humankind, and examines why people have long sought to identify the substances around them. The book includes chapters on particular elements such as gold, iron, and oxygen, showing how they shaped culture and technology. Looking beyond the Periodic Table, the author examines our relationship ...

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The Elements: A Very Short Introduction

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Overview

This Very Short Introduction is an exciting and non-traditional approach to understanding the terminology, properties, and classification of chemical elements. It traces the history and cultural impact of the elements on humankind, and examines why people have long sought to identify the substances around them. The book includes chapters on particular elements such as gold, iron, and oxygen, showing how they shaped culture and technology. Looking beyond the Periodic Table, the author examines our relationship with matter, from the uncomplicated vision of the Greek philosophers, who believed there were four elements—earth, air, fire, and water—to the work of modern-day scientists in creating elements such as hassium and meitnerium. Packed with anecdotes, The Elements is a highly engaging and entertaining exploration of the fundamental question: what is the world made from?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192840998
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Series: Very Short Introductions Series
  • Pages: 186
  • Sales rank: 940,772
  • Lexile: 1240L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 4.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Ball is a science writer and a consultant editor for Nature and the author of Designing the Molecular World, The Self-Made Tapestry, H20: A Biography of Water, and Stories of the Invisible: A Guided Tour of Molecules.

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Table of Contents

List of figures
1 Aristotle's quartet : the elements in antiquity 1
2 Revolution : how oxygen changed the world 21
3 Gold : the glorious and accursed element 40
4 The eightfold path : organizing the elements 65
5 The atom factories : making new elements 91
6 The chemical brothers : why isotopes are useful 118
7 For all practical purposes : technologies of the elements 139
Notes 159
Further reading 164
Index 165
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