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Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zincby Hugh Aldersey Williams
Synopses & Reviews
A New York Times Bestseller
An eye-opening adventure deep inside the everyday materials that surround us, packed with surprising stories and fascinating science
Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. A globally-renowned materials scientist, Miodownik has spent his life exploring objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world.
In Stuff Matters, Miodownik entertainingly examines the materials he encounters in a typical morning, from the steel in his razor and the graphite in his pencil to the foam in his sneakers and the concrete in a nearby skyscraper. He offers a compendium of the most astounding histories and marvelous scientific breakthroughs in the material world, including:
An eye-opening adventure deep inside theand#160;everyday materials that surround us,and#160;from concrete and steel to denim and chocolate, packed with surprising stories and fascinating science.
Like the alphabet, the calendar, or the zodiac, the periodic table of the chemical elements has a permanent place in our imagination. But aside from the handful of common ones (iron, carbon, copper, gold), the elements themselves remain wrapped in mystery. We do not know what most of them look like, how they exist in nature, how they got their names, or of what use they are to us. Unlocking their astonishing secrets and colorful pasts, Periodic Tales is a passionate journey through mines and artists studios, to factories and cathedrals, into the woods and to the sea to discover the true stories of these fascinating but mysterious building blocks of the universe.
In the spirit of A Short History of Nearly Everything comes Periodic Tales. Award-winning science writer Hugh Andersey-Williams offers readers a captivating look at the elements—and the amazing, little-known stories behind their discoveries. Periodic Tales is an energetic and wide-ranging book of innovations and innovators, of superstition and science and the myriad ways the chemical elements are woven into our culture, history, and language. It will delight readers of Genome, Einsteins Dreams, Longitude, and The Age of Wonder.
About the Author
Hugh Aldersey-Williams is the author of numerous books on architecture, design, and science, including Panicology and The Most Beautiful Molecule, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He lives in Norfolk, England.
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