Elemental: How the Periodic Table Can Now Explain (Nearly) Everything —By Tim James

 

SELECTED AS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2018 BY THE DAILY MAIL

 

With the United Nations declaring 2019 “The International Year of the Periodic Table,” this lighthearted look at the periodic table from chemist and high school science teacher Tim James is perfect for students and newcomers to science writing.

Tim James, the science YouTuber and secondary-school teacher we all wish we'd had, provides an accessible and wonderfully entertaining 'biography of chemistry' that uses stories to explain the positions and patterns of elements in the periodic table. Many popular science titles tend to tell the history of scientific developments, leaving the actual science largely unexplained; James, however, makes use of stories to explain the principles of chemistry within the table, showing its relevance to everyday life.


'A hugely entertaining tour of the periodic table and the 118 elements that are the basic building blocks of everything' Daily Mail

In 2016, with the addition of four final elements - nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson - to make a total of 118 elements, the periodic table was finally complete, rendering any pre-existing books on the subject obsolete.



Quirkily illustrated and filled with humour, this is the perfect book for students wanting to learn chemistry or for parents wanting to help, but it is also for anyone who wants to understand how our world works at a fundamental level. The periodic table, that abstract and seemingly jumbled graphic, holds (nearly) all the answers.

As James puts it, elements are 'the building blocks nature uses for cosmic cookery: the purest substances making up everything from beetroot to bicycles.'

Whether you're studying the periodic table for the first time or are simply interested in the fundamental building blocks of the universe - from the core of the sun to the networks in our brains - Elemental is the perfect guide.

A hugely entertaining tour of the periodic table and the 118 elements that are the basic building blocks of everything * Daily Mail *
Perfect for students and newcomers to science writing. . . . From the composition of the stars to the elements most useful to humans, James offers a cheerful selection of short, fascinating chapters suitable for reading in any order. A wide audience can enjoy this accessible peak into the history of chemistry and the periodic table. * Publishers Weekly *
Perfect for students and newcomers to science writing . . . From the composition of the stars to the elements most useful to humans, James offers a cheerful selection of short, fascinating chapters suitable for reading in any order. A wide audience can enjoy this accessible peak into the history of chemistry and the periodic table. * Publishers Weekly *



The Universe came into being 13.8 billion years ago. At this point, all of existence could be summed up as an endless soup of particles frothing at temperatures many times hotter than the Sun. As the Universe expanded, everything began to cool and the particles stabilised. It was around this time, as disorder gave way to order, that the elements were born.

Fast forward to June 2016 and the periodic table of elements was finally completed with the discovery and addition of four new elements.

At last we could identify all the ingredients necessary to make a world. But it doesn't stop there. Human ingenuity knows no bounds; we have even begun to invent our own elements and have created an entire science devoted to their study: chemistry.

When it comes to chemistry, Tim James knows his stuff. In Elemental he tells the story of the periodic table from its ancient Greek roots, when you could count the number of elements humans were aware of on one hand, to the modern alchemists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, who have used nuclear chemistry and physics to generate new elements and complete the periodic table. In addition to this, James answers questions such as:

What is the chemical symbol for a human?

What would happen if all of the elements were mixed together?

How many bananas can you stand next to before you die of radiation sickness?

Which liquid can teleport through walls?

Why is the medieval dream of transmuting lead into gold now a reality?


Jul 06, 2018 Ella Catherall rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1500-book-project, books-i-own, non-fiction-books, science
Although I'm biased (I'm in the acknowledgements), I think this is one of the best new books about science that you can buy. It covers a breadth of topics so there is sure to be something you're interested in, irrespective of whether you're into science (I am so I found the whole thing interesting). The tone of the writing is great - it's light-hearted but doesn't fall into the same trap as 'The Canon' by Natalie Angier where the attempts at humour (All of which fall flat) detract from the book, ...more
flag5 likes · Like · see review
Kathy Schommer
Jun 06, 2019 Kathy Schommer added it
I couldn't put it down; it was entertaining even though it was factual. I enjoyed it immensely!!

Website: timjamesscience.com YouTube: timjamesScience Twitter: @tjamesScience


ISBN-13: 9781468317022
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Publication date: 03/26/2019
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 50,315
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, you’ll know that 2019 is the International Year of the Periodic Table. And what better way to mark this than by brushing up on your element knowledge?

Elemental is a whistle-stop tour of the periodic table by secondary school chemistry teacher and first time author Tim James. It covers a lot of the basic principles of chemical elements, compounds and their properties, from flammable and explosive substances to poisons and flavours. It also includes brief introductions of concepts such as atomic theory, quantum mechanics and the arrangement of the elements into the periodic table.

What is the chemical symbol for a human? What's the strongest acid ever made? Can human beings really spontaneously combust? An exploration of the periodic table in its final form, Elemental answers these questions and more.

If you want to understand how our world works, the periodic table holds the answers. When the seventh row of the periodic table of elements was completed in June 2016 with the addition of four final elements—nihonium, moscovium, tennessine, and oganesson—we at last could identify all the ingredients necessary to construct our world.

In Elemental, chemist and science educator Tim James provides an informative, entertaining, and quirkily illustrated guide to the table that shows clearly how this abstract and seemingly jumbled graphic is relevant to our day-to-day lives.

James tells the story of the periodic table from its ancient Greek roots, when you could count the number of elements humans were aware of on one hand, to the modern alchemists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries who have used nuclear chemistry and physics to generate new elements and complete the periodic table. In addition to this, he answers questions such as: What is the chemical symbol for a human? What would happen if all of the elements were mixed together? Which liquid can teleport through walls? Why is the medieval dream of transmuting lead into gold now a reality?

Whether you're studying the periodic table for the first time or are simply interested in the fundamental building blocks of the universe—from the core of the sun to the networks in your brain—Elemental is the perfect guide.


ISBN-13: 9781468317022
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Publication date: 03/26/2019
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 50,315
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Editorial Reviews
01/28/2019

With the United Nations declaring 2019 “the International Year of the Periodic Table,” this lighthearted look at the periodic table from chemist and high school science teacher James is perfect for students and newcomers to science writing. Using cartoony diagrams, pop culture references, and oddball details such as the diet of ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, which reportedly consisted entirely of grass, James delivers plenty of intriguing, often amusing observations and facts. The very first chemical reaction carried out by humankind, for example, was undoubtedly “setting fire to stuff.” Self-taught 18th- to 19th-century scientist John Dalton began his lifelong study of gases by collecting swamp gas. Science had no way to show atoms actually existed until, in 1905, Einstein revived an experiment from eight decades earlier. In choosing topics, James evinces a fondness for superlatives: the coldest place in the universe, the worst smelling compound, the most explosive substance, and even the most boring (dysprosium, “the only element you could remove from human history” without changing anything). From the composition of the stars to the elements most useful to humans, James offers a cheerful selection of short, fascinating chapters suitable for reading in any order. A wide audience can enjoy this accessible peek into the history of chemistry and the periodic table. (Apr.)

Publishers Weekly