Written by award-winning science writer John Emsley, this informative and highly enjoyable book explains the what, the why and the wherefore of the elements. Arranged alphabetically, from Actinium to Zirconium, it is a complete guide to all the elements that are currently known, with more extensive coverage of those we encounter in our everyday life. The entry on each element reveals where it came from, what role it may have in the human body, the foods that contain it, how it was discovered, its role in human health, the uses and misuses to which it is put, and its environmental role. The new edition includes the three chemical elements discovered since the first edition - Darmstadtium, Roetgenium, and Copernicium - and the section on "transfermium elements" has now been incorporated into the main part of the book. In addition, Emsley has added new information on the economic uses of elements such as Scandium and Gold. Praised by Nature as "amusing and finely crafted," Nature's Building Blocks offers a pleasurable tour of the very essence of our material world.
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.