Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersey-Williams
A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc

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Synopsis

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, Einstein’s Dreams, Longitude, and The Age of Wonder
 

About Hugh Aldersey-Williams

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Hugh Aldersey-Williams is the author of Periodic Tales, which has been published in ten languages, and The Most Perfect Molecule, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He lives in Norfolk, England.
 
Published March 29, 2011 by HarperCollins e-books. 451 pages
Genres: Science & Math, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Periodic Tales

Kirkus Reviews

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Writers and artists from Nabokov to Calder refer to elements in metaphor as well as utilize them physically, and elements are woven throughout cultural mythologies, from the ancient Greek goddess Artemis, who carries a silver shield, to dystopian fiction, in which the yellow light of sodium stree...

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The Guardian

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For Sam Kean in The Disappearing Spoon, gold is aloof "because it doesn't bond with other elements", while Hugh Aldersey-Williams praises its incorruptibility, which inspires "a torrent of other ideals: the golden section and the golden rule"..

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Periodic Tales: A Cultural Hi...

The Wall Street Journal

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At points the personal angle seems forced: He offers us his childhood interest in the elements as a motivation for the project, but this feels like an authorial gambit in comparison to the fanatical romance with chemistry that drove Oliver Sacks's boyhood memoir, "Uncle Tungsten," let alone the c...

Apr 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Periodic Tales: A Cultural Hi...

Examiner

The book, entitled “Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc” is a must read for anyone that is interested in science.

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Periodic Tales: A Cultural Hi...

The Telegraph

Rather than make me say: “If I knew chemistry was this cool, I’d have studied harder in class”, I ended up wishing that it was more like school chemistry, with handouts, tables and diagrams.

Feb 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Periodic Tales: A Cultural Hi...

The Telegraph

This ordering revolutionised chemistry, providing a wealth of insights about the relationships between the properties of the elements and even enabling new elements to be correctly predicted.

Jan 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Periodic Tales: A Cultural Hi...

Bookmarks Magazine

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.

Apr 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Periodic Tales: A Cultural Hi...

Science News

This scientist-turned-writer dives into the discovery of many of the table’s now famous letters — P, S and O — and even some of the more obscure — Eu, Er and Yb.

Jul 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Periodic Tales: A Cultural Hi...

This engaging book might well have been titled "a diverse collection of interesting facts about elements." Not a scientific or popular science text nor a history of chemical discoveries—though it is peppered with scientific facts—the work is an amusing ramble through cultural history, scientific ...

Sep 01 2015 | Read Full Review of Periodic Tales: A Cultural Hi...

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