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The Elements – An Illustrated History of the Periodic Table Reviewed By Conny Crisalli of Bookpleasures.com
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Conny Withay







Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.

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By Conny Withay
Published on November 1, 2012
 


Editor: Tom Jackson
Publisher: Shelter Harbor Press
ISBN: 978-0-9853230-3-5


Editor: Tom Jackson
Publisher: Shelter Harbor Press
ISBN: 978-0-9853230-3-5

Tom Jackson starts the introduction of his book, The Elements – An Illustrated History of the Periodic Table, with, “Ours is very much a material world. Have you ever wondered what it is made of, what is in it deep down? If so you are not alone, and centuries of pondering have come up with a great many answers over the years.” The author does not disappoint in helping us learn about what is in our own bodies and our physical world.

With one hundred and forty-four pages, this over-sized, hardbound book depicts a dropper of a liquid blending into a colorful glass beacon on its front jacket. It is one of the new “Ponderables” series dedicated to trying to answer some of the oldest and important subjects in history. Each series discusses one hundred breakthroughs that changed history and who did what and when in a specific topic. This book caters to one hundred milestones that changed the way we perceive and understand the elements that surround us in our world, especially viewed through the scientific periodic table.

Jackson delineates the topics into five sections: pre-history to the first century, the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages, the enlightenment centuries, the nineteenth century’s great age of science and the modern era of the nineteen hundreds to current day. The introduction has a two-page tutorial that explains the color-coded periodic table. After the one hundred numbered topics, there is an eight-page “Chemistry 101: The Basics” with a larger periodic table, seven paragraphs of unanswered or unexplained “ponderables” to consider, thirty-nine short biographies of great chemists, and an index. Also included is a fold-out with a chart of the elements in their atomic order on one side and a timeline history of the periodic table correlating to elements, science/invention, world events and culture on the other side.

In the largest section, one can learn that glass was made in ancient Egypt in the third millennium B.C., several words used in chemistry have come from Islamic alchemy, chemist Hennig Brand probably used more than a thousand liters of urine to produce less than three and a half ounces of phosphorus, Avogardo’s Law states the same gas volumes have the same numbered particles or one of the greatest contributions to civilization was the Haber Process of turning nitrogen into fertilizing chemicals. Become educated about Mary the Jewess, daughter of Plato, who invented the bain-marie (water bath), Wallace Carothers, American inventor of nylon who killed himself taking cyanide or Russian-born alleged bigamist Dmitri Mendeleev, inventor of the periodic table.

If you have forgotten what an atom is, are unsure why an element is specifically located on the periodic chart, or what in the world is a Buckministerfullerene, here is your chance to learn quickly, to-the-point and educationally.

Ideal for those who are studying or fascinated with the world in relationship to elements, this is a wonderful resource that can be examined, researched and enjoyed over and over as we further discover the elements that are not only are part of us but surround and keep us alive.


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