Periodic Tales

Periodic Tales

A Cultural History of the Elements, From Arsenic to Zinc

Book - 2011
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"An energetic and wide-ranging book of discovery and discoverers, of exploitation and celebration, and of superstition and science, all in search of the ways the chemical elements are woven into our culture, history, and language"-- Provided by publisher.
Contents: Power. El Dorado ; Going platinum ; Noble metals, ignobly announced ; The ochreous stain ; The element traders ; Among the Carbonari ; Plutonium charades ; Mendeleev's suitcases ; The liquid mirror
Fire. The circumnavigation of the Sulphur ; Pee is for phosphorus ; 'As under a green sea' ; 'Humanitarian nonsense' ; Slow fire ; Our Lady of Radium ; Nightglow of Dystopia ; Cocktails at the Pale Horse ; The light of the sun
Craft. To the Cassiterides ; Dull lead's grey truth ; Our perfect reflection ; The worldwide web ; Au zinc ; Banalization ; 'Turn'd to barnacles' ; The Guild of Aerospace Welders ; The March of the Elements
Beauty. Chromatic revolution ; 'Lonely-chrome America' ; Abbé Suger's sheet sapphire ; Inheritance powder ; Rainbows in the blood ; Crushing emeralds ; The crimson light of neon ; Jezebel's eyes
Earth. Swedish rock ; Europium Union ; Auerlight ; Gadolin and Samarsky, everymen of the elements ; Ytterby Gruva
Publisher: New York : Ecco, 2011
Branch Call Number: 546.8 A
Characteristics: xvii, 428 p. : ill. ; 22 cm
ISBN: 9780061824722
0061824720

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SkokieStaff_Steven Jan 11, 2018

As someone who would rather know a little about a lot than a lot about a little, I love wide-ranging, fact-rich overviews like Hugh Aldersey-Williams’ “Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc.” Oddly enough, this book inspired by the periodic table is wildly unsys... Read More »


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SkokieStaff_Steven Jan 11, 2018

As someone who would rather know a little about a lot than a lot about a little, I love wide-ranging, fact-rich overviews like Hugh Aldersey-Williams’ “Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc.” Oddly enough, this book inspired by the periodic table is wildly unsystematic as Aldersey-Williams cheerfully ambles from one element to another seemingly as they strike his fancy, relating stray bits of historical, biographical, scientific, and cultural information about each one along the way. While such a book would be most unhelpful for a chemistry student cramming for an exam, it is delightful for a novice like myself who is surprised to discover that such common substances as chlorine, iodine, and chrome are, in fact, elements. Aldersey-Williams even explains why the Brits add an extra “i” to the word “aluminum,” although he doesn’t convince me that this is a good thing.

oddsyntax Jun 26, 2013

A beautifully written book with a keen sense of the wonder inherent in chemistry. The author brings a combination of philosophical, historical, scientific and personal sensibilities to enliven this survey of elements. I really enjoyed it.

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