The periodic table of elements is among the most recognizable image in science. It lies at the core of chemistry and embodies the most fundamental principles of science. In this new edition, Eric Scerri offers readers a complete and updated history and philosophy of the periodic table. Written in a lively style to appeal to experts and interested lay-persons alike, The Periodic Table: Its Story and Its Significance begins with an overview of the importance of the periodic table and the manner in which the term "element" has been interpreted by chemists and philosophers across time. The book traces the evolution and development of the periodic table from its early beginnings with the work of the precursors like De Chancourtois, Newlands and Meyer to Mendeleev's 1869 first published table and beyond. Several chapters are devoted to developments in 20th century physics, especially quantum mechanics and and the extent to which they explain the periodic table in a more fundamental way. Other chapters examine the formation of the elements, nuclear structure, the discovery of the last seven infra-uranium elements, and the synthesis of trans-uranium elements. Finally, the book considers the many different ways of representing the periodic system and the quest for an optimal arrangement.
Chapter 1: The Periodic System
Chapter 2: Quantitative Relationships among the Elements and the Origins of the Periodic Table
Chapter 3: Discoverers of the Periodic System
Chapter 4: Mendeleev
Chapter 5: Prediction and Accommodation: The Acceptance of Mendeleev's Periodic System
Chapter 6: The Nucleus and the Periodic Table: Radioactivity, Atomic Number, and Isotopy
Chapter 7: The Electron and Chemical Periodicity
Chapter 8: Electronic Explanations of the Periodic System Developed by Chemists
Chapter 9: Quantum Mechanics and the Periodic Table
Chapter 10: Astrophysics, Nucleosynthesis
Chapter 11: The Missing Seven Elements
Chapter 12: Synthetic Elements
Chapter 13: Alternative Forms of the periodic table
Chapter 14: More Chemistry
Dr. Eric Scerri is a leading philosopher of science specializing in the history and philosophy of the periodic table. Throughout his career, he has specialized in historical and philosophical aspects of the periodic table. He has published over 140 articles and a number of books including The Periodic Table: A Very Short Introduction, A Tale of Seven Elements, A Tale of Seven Scientists and a New Philosophy of Science, and Essays in the Philosophy of Chemistry. For the past twelve years, Scerri has been a full-time lecturer at UCLA.
"This second edition comprises 14 chapters, four of them new or modified versions of chapters in the first edition. The periodic table has evolved over the last 150 years, even over the last decade, so both editions of this book are valuable."
– R. E. Buntrock, Choice
"The periodic table continues to generate new thoughts as the list of elements grows, its foundations are refined, and new portrayals are developed. Eric Scerri captures all these innovations in this timely updating of his very readable account of the origin, structure, and interpretation of the table."
– Peter Atkins, University of Oxford
"The 2nd edition of Eric's Scerri's journey through the periodic table is up-to-date, readable, and intellectually enticing. This icon of chemistry has never had a better expositor!"
– Roald Hoffmann, Cornell University
"This second edition is a revised and expanded take on the philosophical and historical aspects of the periodic table that made his first edition such a worthy successor to van Spronsen's classic history."
– Carmen Giunta, Le Moyne College
"Written to a high standard of scholarship, The Periodic Table is the best book on this subject currently available. It gives both an historical and philosophical perspective to the development of this key to the elements, as well as including all the recent additions to the table."
– John Emsley, author of Nature's Building Blocks
"Since Eric Scerri's The Periodic Table was the definitive book on the topic when it first appeared, it is wonderful to see that status claimed anew by this second edition during the International Year of the Periodic Table. The story is still unfolding, thanks in large part to the ingenuity of today's element-makers, and the additions bring this volume right up to date. It remains as clear, balanced and thoughtful as ever, and is the best guide to this iconic formulation of nature's atomic building blocks."
– Philip Ball, author of The Elements: A Very Short Introduction