If you want to understand how our world works, the periodic table holds the answers. When the seventh row of the periodic table of elements was completed in June 2016 with the addition of four final elements--nihonium, moscovium, tennessine, and oganesson--we at last could identify all the ingredients necessary to construct our world.In Elemental, chemist and science educator Tim James provides an informative, entertaining, and quirkily illustrated guide to the table that shows clearly how this abstract and seemingly jumbled graphic is relevant to our day-to-day lives.James tells the story of the periodic table from its ancient Greek roots, when you could count the number of elements humans were aware of on one hand, to the modern alchemists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries who have used nuclear chemistry and physics to generate new elements and complete the periodic table. In addition to this, he answers questions such as: What is the chemical symbol for a human? What would happen if all of the elements were mixed together? Which liquid can teleport through walls? Why is the medieval dream of transmuting lead into gold now a reality?Whether you're studying the periodic table for the first time or are simply interested in the fundamental building blocks of the universe--from the core of the sun to the networks in your brain--Elemental is the perfect guide.
Introduction: A recipe for reality
The machine gun and the pudding
Where do atoms come from?
Block by block
Quantum mechanics saves the day
Things that go boom
The alchemist's dream
Acids, crystals, and light
It's alive, it's alive!
Nine elements that changed the world (and one that didn't)
Appendix I. Sulfur with an "f"
Appendix II. Half a proton?
Appendix III. Schrödinger's equation
Appendix IV. Neutrons into protons
Appendix V. The pH and pKa scales
Appendix VI. Groups of the periodic table.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"With the United Nations declaring 2019 "the International Year of the Periodic Table," this lighthearted look at the periodic table from chemist and high school science teacher James is perfect for students and newcomers to science writing. Using cartoony diagrams, pop culture references, and oddball details such as the diet of ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, which reportedly consisted entirely of grass, James delivers plenty of intriguing, often amusing observations and facts. The very first chemical reaction carried out by humankind, for example, was undoubtedly "setting fire to stuff." Self-taught 18th- to 19th-century scientist John Dalton began his lifelong study of gases by collecting swamp gas. Science had no way to show atoms actually existed until, in 1905, Einstein revived an experiment from eight decades earlier. In choosing topics, James evinces a fondness for superlatives: the coldest place in the universe, the worst smelling compound, the most explosive substance, and even the most boring (dysprosium, "the only element you could remove from human history" without changing anything). From the composition of the stars to the elements most useful to humans, James offers a cheerful selection of short, fascinating chapters suitable for reading in any order. A wide audience can enjoy this accessible peek into the history of chemistry and the periodic table. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
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