Penguin Book

Periodic Tales

Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Like the alphabet or the zodiac, the Periodic Table of the chemical elements is one of those graphic icons lodged permanently in our memories. But, aside from the handful that we run across daily, the elements themselves remain wrapped in mystery. We do not know what most of them look like, or how they arise in nature. We don't know how they got their names, who discovered them, or of what use they are to us. Periodic Tales explores the intricate ways in which the elements are woven into our culture, history and language and builds a bridge between science and the arts. Aldersey-Williams entertainingly tells, for example, how the discovery and fortunes of neon became intertwined with the art-deco explosion in interwar Paris and New York, and how humanity's relationship with lead is a partnership that forged both the creative power of the Guttenburg press and the destructive impact of the lead shot. Periodic Tales is a popular science book that brings readers into direct contact with the fundamental building blocks of the universe.

Hugh Aldersey-Williams won a scholarship to read Natural Sciences at St John's College, Cambridge. He is a writer and curator, and the author of a number of books on architecture and design and science, the most recent being Findings: Hidden Stories in First-Hand Accounts of Scientific Discovery.

Publication date
  • Science and Technology
Format TPS
216 x 135mm
60 b/w integrated
HarperCollins (Ecco)
Greene & Heaton Ltd
Greene & Heaton Ltd
Greene & Heaton Ltd
Audio (Unabridged)
Greene & Heaton Ltd
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