By: Philip Ball
216 pages, 25 b/w illus
In this readable account - one of many recent books on the subject - Ball chooses to highlight gold and oxygen. He explores the thesis that the story of the elements is about our cultural interactions with the nature and composition of matter.
An engaging chronology of the elements, from the Greek philosophers who thought the world was made only from earth, air, fire, and water, to the work of twentieth-century radiochemistry in extending the periodic table.
Aristotle's Quartet - The elements in antiquity; Revolution - How oxygen changed the world; Gold - The most desirable element; The Eightfold Path - Arranging the elements; The Atom Factories - Making new elements; The Chemical Brothers - Why isotopes are useful; For All Practical Purposes - Technologies of the elements.
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