Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe

Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe

3.8 89
by Theodore Gray

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The Elementshas become an international sensation, with over one million copies in-print worldwide.

The highly-anticipated paperback edition ofThe Elementsis finally available.

An eye-opening, original collection of gorgeous, never-before-seen photographic representations of the 118 elements in the periodic table.



The Elementshas become an international sensation, with over one million copies in-print worldwide.

The highly-anticipated paperback edition ofThe Elementsis finally available.

An eye-opening, original collection of gorgeous, never-before-seen photographic representations of the 118 elements in the periodic table.

The elements are what we, and everything around us, are made of. But how many elements has anyone actually seen in pure, uncombined form?The Elementsprovides this rare opportunity. Based on seven years of research and photography, the pictures in this book make up the most complete, and visually arresting, representation available to the naked eye of every atom in the universe. Organized in order of appearance on the periodic table, each element is represented by a spread that includes a stunning, full-page, full-color photograph that most closely represents it in its purest form. For example, at -183°C, oxygen turns from a colorless gas to a beautiful pale blue liquid.

Also included are fascinating facts, figures, and stories of the elements as well as data on the properties of each, including atomic weight, density, melting and boiling point, valence, electronegativity, and the year and location in which it was discovered. Several additional photographs show each element in slightly altered forms or as used in various practical ways. The element's position on the periodic table is pinpointed on a mini rendering of the table and an illustrated scale of the element's boiling and/or melting points appears on each page along with a density scale that runs along the bottom.

Packed with interesting information, this combination of solid science and stunning artistic photographs is the perfect gift book for every sentient creature in the universe.

Includes a tear-out poster of Theodore Gray's iconic Photographic Periodic Table!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Gray (Mad Science) blends science, art, and social commentary in this delightful and informative romp through the periodic table. Each element is photographed in as close to its natural state as possible (hydrogen being one of the most beautiful and creative representations: a stunning photograph of the starlight-laden Eagle Nebula), with a page or two devoted to the history of its use and discovery, along with any unusual atomic properties. A sidebar shows each element's place on the periodic table, atomic weight, density, atomic radius, crystal structure, electron filing order, atomic emission spectrum, and state of matter according to temperature. But what differentiates this from a textbook are the brilliant photos and Gray's lively commentary: e.g., "Yttrium is something of a hippy element," or "the continued use of tungsten in light bulbs is an abomination." In addition to the author's witty asides, fascinating bits of trivia abound: bananas are slightly radioactive; rare earth elements are not really rare; scientists have created fewer than two dozen atoms of meitnerium, an element created in a lab with a half-life of 43 minutes. While the book's size and its numerous gorgeous photographs might classify it as a coffee-table book, kids and adults alike (including those who dozed through basic chemistry) will be mesmerized and inspired to question the elemental basis of our world. 500+ color photos.
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From the Publisher
Praise for The Elements:"

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

Totally retentive chemistry students know that there are 118 elements in the periodic table, but how few scientists can boast that they have actually seen a majority of these elements in their pure, uncombined form. This book accomplishes even more than that: The fruition of a five-year research and photography project, The Elements provides readers with the most complete representation of every atom in our universe. Each elements stars in its own spread, including a full-color photograph and relevant facts, figures, and stories. Additional photos show each element in altered forms or as used in practical ways. There has never been antyhing like it before.

Product Details

Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.96(w) x 9.84(h) x 0.64(d)

Meet the Author

Theodore Gray is the author of The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe; Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do At Home, But Probably Shouldn't; Mad Science 2: Experiments You Can Do At Home, But Still Probably Shouldn't; and Popular Science magazine's "Gray Matter" column. With his company Touch Press, Gray is the developer of best-selling iPad and iPhone apps, including The Elements, Solar System, Disney Animated, The Orchestra, The Waste Land, and Skulls by Simon Winchester. He lives in Urbana, Illinois.

Nick Mann is the photographer of The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe. Aside from having photographed more elements and compounds than probably anyone in the world, he is an accomplished landscape, sports, and event photographer. He lives in Urbana, Illinois.

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Elements 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 89 reviews.
Pam_P More than 1 year ago
Our 7-year old budding science geek went absolutely insane for this book. Over the course of a month he read it cover to cover, jumping back periodically to re-read about his new favorite element. He now will not stop talking about actinides, lanthanides, rare earths, noble gases, alkali metals, and the like. I wouldn't necessarily get this book for a kid who wasn't already interested in science, but for one who is, man oh man, what a great investment.
Maureen_in_Texas More than 1 year ago
My 11 year old son picked this out at the store, it is by far not a childrens book but he reads well beyond his age level. This book is incredible, the photos and examples are amazing. I am by no means a chemistry or physics person and I found myself reading element after element and I hated this stuff in school which was 20 years ago for me! The way the book is laid out is very pleasing to the eye. I think any age from a college student to an elementary student could benefit from this book. I even learned the element used in fireproofing my newborns clothing. I highly suggest this book to anyone wanting to learn about the elements!
wikker50 More than 1 year ago
Every time I open this Book, I discover a number of things I never Knew! What a absolute Joy to read. I am reluctant to finish the Book,so I save it for Reading only one ,maybe two pages a week.
Gene-From-Texas More than 1 year ago
I have been a chemist most of my life and was manager of a chemical manufacturing company. I thought I knew plenty about chemistry but this book takes it to the elemental level (no pun intended). It brings in all the substances you have heard about and most that you will never come across but they do make up the world we live in. If you are a student it is very easy reading. Lots of pictures make it even better for understanding the everyday uses of a particular element.
DavidWard More than 1 year ago
The Elements by Theodore Gray is an excellent book for those seeking a generalized knowledge of the universe's known elements without studying chemistry or quantum physics. Although scientific properties, such as atomic number, weight, emission spectrum and the elements' state of matter are explained; emphasis is placed on the physical properties of each element and the various compounds that are produced when elements are chemically combined. Several pages are devoted to discussing the periodic table, its classic shape, and how the table's structure is determined. The book's most outstanding features are the color photographs. Whenever possible, a photograph of an element in its pure form is presented along with numerous photographs of the elements' chemical compounds and applications. The author also provides numerous and interesting facts of the elements and compounds. For example, pure sodium and potassium will explode when placed in water and pure uranium can legally be purchased on ebay. The only disadvantage I found when reading The Elements is the lack of a glossary.
the_book_agent More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for children to learn about the elements. The reason I only gave it 4 stars was due to B & N's poor packaging. They basically dumped the book in a box and threw some fillers on top. The book was left to bang around inside the box without any real protection. As a result, the book arrived with damage to the corners and spine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great for students who wants to study the periodic table and is a great book to use to learn chemistry!! each page is detailed and explains every thing about the elelment. It even has the periodic table and the familys and who and what each element is named after! this bood is great u can't get any thing better then this!!! trust me i LOOKED!!
observerNY More than 1 year ago
This book is very good for any kind of readers, including students and general readers. It is very useful and clear in content with beautiful illustrations to make the information more understandable. I am going to send it to my granddaughter for her studies to be reviewed. Thanks a lot. NIYT. February 06, 2010.
RGJ More than 1 year ago
This is a great introduction to the chemical elements for high school students, or anyone who has wondered what exactly a chemical element is and why anyone should care. The photos are well done, and allow the reader to connect a visual image with an abstract concept. The elements are arranged in atomic number and come with little articles containing both reliable scientific information, as well as fun trivia. The information is up to date and not over-whelming. The book is a supplement to standard school texts, not a replacement. It's strength is in stimulating interest, and as a mnemonic aid. The price is right.
LightsandSirens911 More than 1 year ago
My kids love looking through this book and learning about all the elements. We keep it as a coffee table book, it's a beautifully laid out photo book that everyone can learn something from.
CTSciteach More than 1 year ago
Good book for background information when teaching about the elements. Great reference for high school kids when they want to know what an element looks like, what it is used for, or why it behaves the way it does. I would definitely recommend this book for all science teachers.
OCScienceTeacher More than 1 year ago
As an elementary science teacher, I found this book extremely useful for both myself and my students. Mr. Gray is a very engaging writer who did not get bogged down into scientific technical lingo, thereby making the book very readable for non science types. My students enjoyed the book and found much useful information about each element.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The reader is aided in understanding the periodic chart by the included element descriptions as well as application information. I felt that the information as presented was informative enough that I purchased two copies for my grandchildren to use in thier academic activities.
Anonymous 11 months ago
This book is an absolute must-have for any chemistry proffessor or chemistry enthusiast! I have had this book for eight years and still love it. Kudos to Mr. Gray!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Full of great photographs and information. Each element has at least two pages about it with pictures and information. Awesome book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is well put and aesthetically pleasing. I dont have too much to complain about, but the only thing that bothers me is that the material the book is made of falls apart fast. I take very good care of my books but this one is impossible to keep in good condition. This book is good for children, teens, and adults who don't have an in depth understanding of chemistry. I bought this book when i was 14 and then later on i took a honors chemistry when i was 16 and received an A. I think that this is a good book that adults should invest in for their children because children love visual books.  
GottaReadThis More than 1 year ago
"The Elements" by Theordore Gray is the best book about the elements around. It has tons of awesome photos for each element, right from the author's collection! The description of the elements in this book is really good, with examples from what the element is used for, it's history, and even some cool things you can do with the element. I would definitly recommend this book.
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