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He was right.
In this essential guide to the Periodic Table, we track the history of the powerful yet elegant tool that lays bare the building blocks of the ...
He was right.
In this essential guide to the Periodic Table, we track the history of the powerful yet elegant tool that lays bare the building blocks of the Universe. The journey begins just as the first cities are forming, and follows the contributions made by philosophers, alchemists, industrialists, and great scientists as they gather force to create this masterpiece of accumulated knowledge. The story includes Democritus of ancient Greece who said that the four elements of nature—earth, water, fire, and air—must be made of atoms, otherwise our world is just an illusion, and the French aristocrat Antoine Lavoisier, who was the first to show that water is not an element at all. With over three hundred illustrations, it opens a window into the very stuff of nature—stars, rocks, life, and more—and shows us the way to make even smarter technologies.
From the ancient Greek philosopher who noticed the unusual force exerted by amber, to the alchemist who boiled urine until it glowed in the dark, to the British inventor who described the powerful effect of electricity on a dead body to Mary Shelley (before she wrote Frankenstein) to the theologian who observed mice becoming unconscious when dangled over brewing beer, the discovery of the elements is a story with many chapters, each adding to our understanding of these basic substances that make up the world around us. The thoughts and deeds of great thinkers always make great stories and here are a hundred of the most significant. Each story relates a confounding puzzle that became a discovery and changed the way we see the world. We call these Ponderables.
What will great thinkers ponder next? How will new contributions add to our understanding of the universe? Take a glimpse at the Imponderables, the mysteries still to be solved, for an insight into future great discoveries.
Includes a removable fold-out concertina neatly housed in the back of the book. This fold-out provides a 12-page Timeline History of the Periodic Table that embeds the story of chemistry in historical context and shows Who Did What When at a glance. On the reverse side is a 12-page Chart of Elements in Atomic Order providing scientific data for all 118 elements, as well as their primary source and use.
Posted May 8, 2013
Posted January 1, 2013