[PDF / Epub] ☄ Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements ✓ Hugh Aldersey-Williams – Thomashillier.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements

  1. says:

    Updated 6 29 13 see link at bottomThis book is one of the reasons people will occasionally look at you, slack jawed, and say How did you know that There are a few greater feelings in life, but not many A W picks a few dozen of the 118 known elements and tells us a bit about them, offering stories that might be about their discovery, how they are used, or other cultural looks see There is unevenness, to be sure Some stories areinteresting than others, but the overall level is quite Updated 6 29 13 see link at bottomThis book is one of the reasons people will occasionally look at you, slack jawed, and say How did you know that There are a few greater feelings in life, but not many A W picks a few dozen of the 118 known elements and tells us a bit about them, offering stories that might be about their discovery, how they are used, or other cultural looks see There is unevenness, to be sure Some stories areinteresting than others, but the overall level is quite good, informative and entertaining.But wait, there sFor those of us with an affection for literary treasure hunting, it is time to pick up some of the glowing tablets suspended in the air A W offers explanations and reference points for how certain materials are viewed culturally For instance gold goes with power, iron with strength, grave lead, honest tin, virtuous silver, this is feminine, that is masculine, and so on This is mother s milk for those trying to ferret out elements of meaning in literature You will learn about the first use of carbonated water, the derivation of the word tinker, which substance is known as liquid fire , some alarming facts about things that glow in the dark We think of titanium as a material used in jets or rockets, but did you know that titanium oxide is widely used to make white paint Metals come into and pass out of fashion One particular poison was in such widespread use that it became known as inheritance powder Why was there such a concentration of element discoveries in Norway A W has enough material here about color that he could write an entire book on the subject, and I hope he does.If you enjoy learning new things, Periodic Tales will tickle your brain, right down to the atoms It s elementary EXTRA STUFFAn article in the May 2013 issue of National Geographic looked at what was happening with creation of new elements Fascinating material


  2. says:

    The author goes off in too many directions with his story telling for me to want to stick to reading his book I read over a hundred pages and can t seem to find it interesting due to how the author goes about writing it From memories of gathering as many elements of the periodic table during his childhood, to drawn out stories of how a present day person is producing charcoal, to historical tales of elements, and then to the author personally experimenting to abstract an element It makes you The author goes off in too many directions with his story telling for me to want to stick to reading his book I read over a hundred pages and can t seem to find it interesting due to how the author goes about writing it From memories of gathering as many elements of the periodic table during his childhood, to drawn out stories of how a present day person is producing charcoal, to historical tales of elements, and then to the author personally experimenting to abstract an element It makes you want to beg the author to please pick a style of writing and stick with it I m going to find it hard to pick this book up again to finish


  3. says:

    This wasn t quite as engaging to me as the blurb and the reviews quoted on the cover suggests in fact, it started to feel rather meandering but it is quite an interesting read, covering both the scientific history of elements, how and when they were discovered, and the social histories, why they were used and for what Some facts I didn t know other parts I got impatient with yes, yes, I know all that.Overall, worth a read if it sounds interesting to you, but be prepared to skip bits whe This wasn t quite as engaging to me as the blurb and the reviews quoted on the cover suggests in fact, it started to feel rather meandering but it is quite an interesting read, covering both the scientific history of elements, how and when they were discovered, and the social histories, why they were used and for what Some facts I didn t know other parts I got impatient with yes, yes, I know all that.Overall, worth a read if it sounds interesting to you, but be prepared to skip bits where he s telling you things you re not interested in already know


  4. says:

    I will admit that I am starting to get a bit weary of popular science books Do not get me wrong being trained as a chemist and working in science and engineering for many years I find these books fascinating The problem lies in the fact that the subject is so huge they have to give a hook, something personal that will get the reading not only interested but also to connect with the book Now I will admit I have read my fair shore of this type of book only to realise I either have nothing in co I will admit that I am starting to get a bit weary of popular science books Do not get me wrong being trained as a chemist and working in science and engineering for many years I find these books fascinating The problem lies in the fact that the subject is so huge they have to give a hook, something personal that will get the reading not only interested but also to connect with the book Now I will admit I have read my fair shore of this type of book only to realise I either have nothing in common with the writer or worse still I actually disagree with them so why would I waste my time and effort in reading their book Sadly it seems that there arethan their fair share of these books out there But not with this one Basically you have a scientists who not only knows what he is talking about but also how to present it in an accessible and fun manner he has also had experience on how to create displays and exhibits so he knows how to keep your attention.So what of the book then well you have several layers to this book The first is that of the story of him deciding to create his own collection of elements from periodic table, now some are incredibly easy to source others are near on impossible.But you also have historical stories of the elements However rather than just dry stories of their discovery and who made them there are also side stories about how they were used or even how they became famous and had their 15minutes of fame from St Pauls cathedral to Napoleons death.Each chapter and even each sub section tells a fun and fascinating tale along the way while we watch the author try and sometimes fail to add another element to his collection.I will admit this was a total gamble although I am sure I recognised the title from somewhere however I am very glad I did and I am sure I will be referring back to this book again in the future


  5. says:

    view spoiler Bettie s Books hide spoiler view spoiler Bettie s Books hide spoiler


  6. says:

    A disappointment I picked this up thinking it might be weirdly informative and entertaining, like Bill Bryson s wonderfully entertaining science history A Short History of Nearly Everything But in the end I found almost all the anecdotes lifeless and pointless Ultimately I gave up and put it back on the shelf about two thirds through.


  7. says:

    Hugh Aldersey Williams s Periodic Tales tells the story of the cultural history of the elements separated in five topics, the subjects of the book which are power, the richness of the element or how valuable it is fire, the changes of compounds when they react with other compounds like water craft, the way people can manipulate the elements beauty, the appearance of an element and how elements color our world, and earth, how an element affected a certain place or how the place affected an el Hugh Aldersey Williams s Periodic Tales tells the story of the cultural history of the elements separated in five topics, the subjects of the book which are power, the richness of the element or how valuable it is fire, the changes of compounds when they react with other compounds like water craft, the way people can manipulate the elements beauty, the appearance of an element and how elements color our world, and earth, how an element affected a certain place or how the place affected an element The book is set in from way back earlier than 1600 B.C.E to 2011, when the book was published, at no particular place, but mostly in Europe, where many pure elements were discovered and where several elements were synthesized, because multiple scientists from different countries contributed in the world of science Telling many stories about the elements, including his own, Aldersey Williams researches information about the elements, conducts a few of his own experiments, and presents us many elements histories He speaks about the history of the elements and his past related to the them, interesting stories about elements that we use today like gold, silver, and mercury, which was used in movies for a certain special effect.A very memorable event for me was a short section called Pee is for Phosphorus After telling us a story of how a scientist used fifty liters of urine for an experiment to see if phosphorus is in our urine, Aldersey Williams conducted a similar experiment with his old teacher, but with less than fifty liters for a quicker completion rate He followed the same procedure with some modifications but can t seem to extract the phosphorus out He then theorizes that phosphorus was extracted, but in very small amounts This was memorable because of the experiment and the weird title of the section.Ultimately, the story of the history of the elements is a story of scientists, like Marie Curie, discovering new elements, updating Mendeleev s period table to the periodic table we know today, experimenting with elements to learn new things, and manipulating elements for our personal gains, like using arsenic either for medication or assassination It all adds up to a tale of cultural history, a subject that our generation wouldn t be very interested in, but it does educates readers of the usefulness of everyday elements or elements we used to use in the past Periodic Tales tells that story very descriptively, reminding us how often we take advantage of our everyday objects, and how little we know about them, like how do they work, who invented them, or what they are made of.I learned a lot of things thanks to this book It is practically a science book for college students I learned what explodes when reacted with water, what makes our streetlights glow, what makes an object a certain color, and what possibly killed Napoleon undetermined if it was the actual cause of death Also, I learned some chemistry terms This book made me change what I read because I really want to read interesting facts now, either from the internet or from a book I need to expand my horizon of what I read because someday, the information I gained could help me later in the future.Unfortunately, this book isn t one of those books that s like an emotional roller coaster ride This book is somewhat monotone, but I felt amazed, confused, and bored while reading this Of course, I had Whoa, really moments when I read something very interesting, but I also had Huh and Zzz moments because of the uninteresting facts or the complicated chemistry terms that I don t understand Even though I had confused and bored moments, I enjoyed reading about a quarter to half of the book, but the rest gave me a headache like the after effect of a sugar rush.Periodic Tales is a rather lengthy book that talks so much about the elements This book has too much information for an average person, especially someone who doesn t understand chemistry that well Generally, I would not recommend this book because it has so many facts, confusing segments, and requires some knowledge of chemistry Although some of the information was interesting, most of the other information felt boring to me I would recommend this book to people who wants to grow up to be some type of scientist, people who s great in science, or people who really want to learnabout the elements


  8. says:

    Very interesting This book definitely tells a different story about the elements than what I, with a chemistry background, usually got It assigned genders to a lot of the metals and talked about the colors and smells and sounds of the elements and the effect those things had on the way society viewed them before we could define them by their atomic structure I learned a lot, not just that British people pronounce a lot of the elements weirdly, not just aluminum Favorite fact UPPU, a club th Very interesting This book definitely tells a different story about the elements than what I, with a chemistry background, usually got It assigned genders to a lot of the metals and talked about the colors and smells and sounds of the elements and the effect those things had on the way society viewed them before we could define them by their atomic structure I learned a lot, not just that British people pronounce a lot of the elements weirdly, not just aluminum Favorite fact UPPU, a club that you could only join if there was enough Plutonium in your system for it to be detectable in your urine Favorite quote Civilization, it is immediately apparent, is simply organized resistance to oxidationThe gas brings life, and in doing so, brings death closer


  9. says:

    An extremely enjoyable book To date it s the closest I ve found to one of my absolute favorite childhood books, passed down to me, long since mislaid the title and author of which I cannot remember That book had a red cover Inside there were the most marvelous stories of the discovery of amongst others the composition of air Scheele, Cavandish, Lavoisier , the alkali earth metals Davy , and helium Kirchoff Bunsen in our Sun Mr Aldersey Williams select bibliography now strongly and An extremely enjoyable book To date it s the closest I ve found to one of my absolute favorite childhood books, passed down to me, long since mislaid the title and author of which I cannot remember That book had a red cover Inside there were the most marvelous stories of the discovery of amongst others the composition of air Scheele, Cavandish, Lavoisier , the alkali earth metals Davy , and helium Kirchoff Bunsen in our Sun Mr Aldersey Williams select bibliography now strongly and helpfully points me in the direction of I Nechaev s 1942 book Chemical Elements or rather of the translation from the Russian , as being my long lost book Periodic Tales adopts Nechaev s central thesis to describe the sheer human and technological excitement of the discovery of the chemical elements Unsurprisingly, there is considerablyto say in 2011 than in 1942 and not only about the fleeting fascinating existences of the man made transuranic elements where physicists have gracelessly elbowed the chemists out of the party Mr Aldersey Williams writes for an adult, or interested teenager, audience, whereas I was reading Nechaev whilst still in primary age 6 11 education Periodic Tales is wider, deeper, and longer dipping into literature, mining, cookery, war, oceanography, classical history, Christianity, art, materials science, architecture That is by no means a comprehensive list.I was aware of reading this book in a slightly detached manner, probably because much of the fact contained was not new to me After I graduated in analytical chemistry I found rewarding work as a research scientist Within the pages of this book I experienced the very same interest, excitement, and knowledge which first sparked my interest in chemistry and associated sciences all those years ago Therein too, lay my only disappointment A very serious disappointment Why, oh why have the illustrations been printed in low resolution black and white and within the text too OK, I do know why It s considerably cheaper to do that in preference to bound in high resolution black and white images on high quality gloss paper But by choosing to make such false economies the publisher has not only grave insulted the author s fruitful work, but also every reader of this book So 4 stars, not 5 With quality illustrations I would have bought a copy of this book instead I borrowed a copy from my local public library Returning to the author s wonderful text this is a book to read and savor at leisure, not in haste I usually hate over frequent picking up, reading, and putting a book down, but I think Periodic Tales actually benefits from periodic pauses, so as to enable the brain to fully enjoy thinking through what has just been read, together with associated connections and ramifications Like a box of good chocolates, this book is definitely best savored and long lingered over Just keep the phone number of a good independent travel agent to hand I d never before thought of Element tourism see pg 378 on but after nowt but a modicum of thought, I can clearly see the appeal


  10. says:

    Periodic tales is one of those books that grabs you by the throat and will not let you go Full of extra ordinary stories, co incidences, twists and turns Hugh Aldersley Williams meanders through the arcane history of the elements and in so doing encourages the reader to want to find outandI have always been jointly fascinated by chemistry and the extra ordinary people behind the knowledge we so take for granted and on which our civilisation hangs Many of the people involved in the Periodic tales is one of those books that grabs you by the throat and will not let you go Full of extra ordinary stories, co incidences, twists and turns Hugh Aldersley Williams meanders through the arcane history of the elements and in so doing encourages the reader to want to find outandI have always been jointly fascinated by chemistry and the extra ordinary people behind the knowledge we so take for granted and on which our civilisation hangs Many of the people involved in the elements recent history are, of course, well known and celebrated for their work, Curie, Davy, Mendeleev are three that instantly spring to mind But many others are unsung, unrecognised by the world at large and often forgotten even within the scientific community Who now knows the story of the genius behind the discoveries at Ytterby or is able to name even 2 of the seven elements that were discovered there or even locate Ytterby on a map Unlike an encyclopaedia or a chemistry textbook Periodic tales readslike a mystery story and I found myself keen to keep reading and eager to follow Hugh s trail It is hard to think of a topic or theme that is not touched on somewhere in this book but everything is handled with a deft lightness of touch and great literary skill The history of the elements is intimately entwined with the history of humanity and in taking us to the trenches and the use of Chlorine as a weapon he keeps our eyes firmly fixed on the patriotic chemist, Haber, who proposed that the gas be released from ground based cylinders allowing wind to carry it over to the enemy lines Hugh follows the Haber story through telling of the suicide of Haber s wife also a chemist in 1915, following the attacks, and of his own visit to Haber s son and daughters who retired to Bath of all places Hideous as this particular bit of history is Hugh dances his narrative along now showing the comic, now peeping into the ancient craft of sword making, now revealing the unsung hero Any review of this book cannot begin to do it full justice All I can say is Read it You will not be disappointed and you will find that your view of the world has expanded exponentially


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Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements 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 Welcome To A Dazzling Tour Through History And Literature, Science And Art In Periodic Tales, You Ll Meet Iron That Rains From The Heavens And Neon As It Lights Its Way To Vice You Ll Learn How Lead Can Tell Your Future And Why Zinc May One Day Line Your Coffin You Ll Discover What Connects The Bones In Your Body With The White House In Washington, The Glow Of A Streetlight With The Salt On Your Dinner TableFrom Ancient Civilizations To Contemporary Couture, From The Oxygen Of Publicity To The Phosphorous In Your Pee, The Elements Are Near And Far And All Around 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