A Guided Tour of the ElementsBook - 2002
What is it made of? What is in it? We have become a society fascinated about composition, and for good reason. Lead in petrol shows up in the snow fields of the Antarctic; mercury poisons fish in South America. Radon from the earth poses health hazards in regions built on basaltic rocks, andnatural arsenic contaminates wells in Bangladesh. Calcium supplements combat bone-wasting diseases; iron alleviates anaemia. There are elements that we crave, and those we do our best to avoid. This book reveals that the story of the elements is not simply a tale of a hundred or so different types of atom, each with its unique properties and idiosyncrasies, but a story about our cultural interactions with the nature and composition of matter. It shows that understanding the elements isnot merely a matter of reading a list, but of engaging with the reasons why people have long believed the world to be an elaborate composite of simpler materials, and how they sought to identify those primary substances. It explains the difficulties of defining and identifying the elements, thepattern of the periodic table, the principles behind the formation of synthetic elements, and the ways in which elements have shaped the technologies of civilizations.
Publisher: New York ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, c2002
Branch Call Number: 546 BAL
Characteristics: xii, 216 p. : ill. ; 21 cm