The Periodic Table: A Very Short Introduction

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Overview

In this authoritative Very Short Introduction to the periodic table, Eric Scerri presents a modern and fresh exploration of this fundamental topic in the physical sciences, considering the deeper implications of the arrangements of the table to atomic physics and quantum mechanics. Scerri looks at the trends in properties of elements that led to the construction of the periodic table, and how the deeper meaning of its structure gradually became apparent with the development of atomic theory and quantum mechanics,...

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The Periodic Table: A Very Short Introduction

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Overview

In this authoritative Very Short Introduction to the periodic table, Eric Scerri presents a modern and fresh exploration of this fundamental topic in the physical sciences, considering the deeper implications of the arrangements of the table to atomic physics and quantum mechanics. Scerri looks at the trends in properties of elements that led to the construction of the periodic table, and how the deeper meaning of its structure gradually became apparent with the development of atomic theory and quantum mechanics, so that physics arguably came to colonize an entirely different science, chemistry.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199582495
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/13/2012
  • Series: Very Short Introductions Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 213,600
  • Product dimensions: 4.40 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Scerri is a lecturer in chemistry as well as history and philosophy of science at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements xi

List of illustrations xiii

Preface xvii

1 The elements 1

2 A quick overview of the modern periodic table 10

3 Atomic weight, triads, and Prout 30

4 Steps towards the periodic table 42

5 The Russian genius - Mendeleev 58

6 Physics invades the periodic table 72

7 Electronic structure 84

8 Quantum mechanics 98

9 Modern alchemy: from missing elements to synthetic elements 109

10 Forms of the periodic table 122

Further reading 139

Index 141

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Popular Science Writing at its Best

    Periodic table of elements is one of the most famous and recognizable scientific icons. It is a distillation of many centuries of work and insight into the nature of fundamental substances, and it is a particularly elegant formulation of the deep unity of all matter. Its discovery has been rightly attributed to Mendeleev, perhaps the greatest Russian scientist of all time, although many of its essential features have already been anticipated in the years preceding its official discovery. Even after the discovery, the periodic table has continued to evolve, both in terms of the new elements that have been discovered, as well as in terms of how they are best visually included in the table.

    This very short introduction tells the story of discovery of the periodic table. It is in equal measure a historical account as well as an introduction into the scientific principles that have been crucial for our understanding of the elements. It also reflects on important philosophical issues that most active scientist often don't appreciate enough, but that are in fact important in deciding what are the crucial features of the laws and relationships that the periodic table embodies.

    This book is bound to offer a lot of new and interesting information, even to those who think that they know pretty much everything that there is to know about the atomic structure and the elements. (As a physicist, I was surprised to find out that we still don't have a completely quantum mechanical understanding of the orbitals, and the fact that relativistic effects become important for the heavier atoms.) It is an up to date account, and anyone who is curious about the basic science will greatly appreciate its content. The book is also very well written, and it is a pleasure to read. I highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    cheezgurgah

    Amazing and factfull

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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