Periodic Tales

Periodic Tales

The Curious Lives of the Elements

Summary

THE PHENOMENAL SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

'Science writing at its best. If only chemistry had been like this at school' Matt Ridley
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Everything in the universe is made of them, including you. Like you, the elements have personalities, attitudes, talents, shortcomings, stories rich with meaning.

Here you'll meet iron that rains from the heavens and noble gases that light the way to vice. You'll learn how lead can tell your future while zinc may one day line your coffin. You'll discover what connects the bones in your body with the Whitehouse in Washington, the glow of a streetlamp with the salt on your dinner table.

Unlocking their astonishing secrets and colourful pasts, Periodic Tales is a voyage of wonder and discovery, showing that their stories are inextricable from the stories of our own lives.
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'A love letter to the chemical elements. Aldersey-Williams is full of good stories and he knows how to tell them well' Sunday Telegraph

'The history, science, art, literature and everyday applications of all the elements from aluminium to zinc' The Times

'Great fun to read and an endless fund of unlikely and improbable anecdotes' Financial Times

Reviews

  • Science writing at its best ... fascinating and beautiful ... if only chemistry had been like this at school ... to meander through the periodic table with him ... is like going round a zoo with Gerald Durrell ... a rich compilation of delicious tales, but it offers greater rewards, too
    Matt Ridley

About the author

Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Hugh Aldersey-Williams studied natural sciences at Cambridge. He is the author of several books exploring science, design and architecture - including Periodic Tales, Anatomies and The Adventures of Sir Thomas Browne in the 21st Century - and has curated exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Wellcome Collection. He lives in Norfolk with his wife and son.
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