279 pages, 32 plates with 88 colour & b/w photos and colour & b/w illustrations
With carbon we access heat, light and mobility at the flick of a switch, while silicon enables us to communicate across the globe in an instant. Yet our use of the Earth's mineral resources is not always for the benefit of humankind – our relationship with the elements is one of great ambivalence. Uranium is both productive nuclear power and destructive atomic bombs; iron is the bloody weapon of war, but also the economic tool of peace; our desire for alluring gold is the foundation of global trade, but has also led to the death of millions.
In Seven Elements That Have Changed the World, John Browne, CEO of BP for twelve years, vividly describes how seven elements are shaping the world around us – for good and bad. Combining history, science and politics, Seven Elements That Have Changed the World takes you on a present day adventure of human passion, ingenuity and discovery. This journey is far from over: we continue to find surprising new uses for these seven elements. Discover how titanium pervades modern consumer society, how natural gas is transforming the global energy sector, and how an innovative new form of carbon could be starting a technology revolution.
"Expertly crafted book by a unique thinker"
- Tony Blair
"Fascinating and enjoyable [...] infused with insight"
- Brian Cox
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John Browne (Lord Browne of Madingley) was born in Germany in 1948 and joined BP as a university apprentice in 1966, rising to Group Chief Executive from 1995 to 2007, where he built a reputation as a visionary leader, regularly voted the most admired businessman by his peers.