Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Review - The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray and Nick Mann (5/5 stars)

I am a chemist and have always been fascinated by the Periodic Table of Elements.  So, imagine my excitement when I saw this book sitting in the bookstore.  Not only does it provide information on all 118 elements in the Periodic Table, it does it in a way that is interesting, accessible, and beautiful.  This is a book that makes you want to touch it and turn the pages, you just can't resist.  The picture of the elements are colorful and intriguing; they are all featured on a stylish black background...this is just a beautiful book.

Each element features a picture of the element in its purest form.  The side of the page has a small strip that gives lots of technical data.  The elements position on the periodic table is showm, atomic weight, density, atomic radius, crystal structure, electron order filing, atomic emissions spectrum, and state of matter are all given in this strip.  The rest of the page is given over to a few paragraphs about the element.  Then there are excellent pictures showing instances where the element is used and these pictures also have small descriptions.   Most elements are given a two page spread, but some of the lucky elements get 4 pages!

In addition to the individual elements the beginning of the book discusses the different sections of the periodic table and how the periodic table of elements got its shape.

This is more of a coffee table book than an ultimate reference to the Periodic Table of Elements.  Although it does provide a lot of information on the Elements.  Much of the discussion on each Element is anecdotal and somewhat humorous.  This makes the book an excellent reference for the layman interested in Elements, it also makes the book an entertaining read.  You would have to go elsewhere to get into the gritty details of some of these elements though....for example if you were trying to synthesize something with them or something else deeply technical.

Overall I really loved this book.  It is such an awesome book with such neat pictures. Everyone in the house from my computer loving husband to my three year old son has spent time looking through this book.  It is just such an interesting book and it is presented in such a beautiful way.  Not to mention it is even fun to read!  I think everyone should have this book in their house; if nothing else it makes for interesting discussions as you see the bizarre forms of some of the elements.
The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe

No comments:

Post a Comment