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. Includes chapters on particular elements (gold, iron, oxygen, etc), showing how they shaped culture and technology.
1. Aristotle's Quartet: The elements in antiquity; 2. Revolution: How oxygen changed the world; 3. Gold: The most desirable element; 4. The Eightfold Path: Organizing the elements; 5. The Atom Factories: Making new elements; 6. The Chemical Brothers: Why isotopes are useful; 7. For All Practical Purposes: Technologies of the elements; End notes; Futher reading
A delight of a book.... Elegantly written...far-reaching, entertaining and salted with anecdote.... It could become a classic.--New Scientist
"Ball brings the periodic table to life."--Discover
"Philip Ball's book is an excellent introduction."--Chemistry and Industry
"The book contains some delightful anecdotes."--Times Higher Educational Supplement (London)