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Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements

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While their chemical properties of the elements in the periodic table are important it is the cultural baggage these substances have accumulated that the author is most concerned with. This is particularly true when talking about the things we value and esteem. Gold and silver are not only objects of worth but symbols of it as well. Just ask the guy who gets the bronze medal. However there was a time when aluminum was so highly valued that the guests at Napoleon III's table were given cutlery made for it to eat with while the less favored were given silver or gold. The history, science, art, literature and everyday applications of all the elements from aluminium to zinc' The Times 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.

Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersey-Williams - Eyrie Review: Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersey-Williams - Eyrie

Like the elements that Aldersey-Williams collected in his youth, this book is just that: a fun and accessible collection of stories about the periodic table and the elements that comprise it. I largely enjoyed reading Periodic Tales, but the disjointed nature of the content made it a bit difficult to read in large chunks, and I found my motivation to finish it dwindling as time progressed (although I’m entirely glad I did finish it since Aldersey-Williams’s excursions to the mines of Germany and Sweden offered some interesting avenues for my research and writing). The Periodic Table by Primo Levi is an impassioned response to the Holocaust: Consisting of 21 short stories, each possessing the name of a chemical element, the collection tells of the author's experiences as a Jewish-Italian chemist before, during, and after Auschwitz in luminous, clear, and unfailingly beautiful prose. It has been named the best science book ever by the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and is considered to be Levi's crowning achievement. Henry VIII came to be known as Old Coppernose because he introduced so much copper into the silver coin that the king's nose and other raised parts on the coin would turn red as they wore down. The American patriot Paul Revere, achieved fame with his copper-bottomed cooking pots and pans. Ductility is copper's most useful property. When it wasn’t interesting though, it could be downright boring. And as I mentioned earlier, the writing could be quite scattered - one moment speaking about projects the author attempted to undertake from home using these elements, to the next moment citing their usage in Shakespearen plays, then veering off into long diatribes about their usage in historical paintings. Man, iespējams nepamatoti, ir šķitis, ka populārzinātniskās grāmatas latviski tiek izdotas daudz par maz. Un tādēļ man ir neviltota sajūsma ieraugot grāmatu veikalu plauktos kādu zinātnei veltītu grāmatu latviski. Ieraugot šo grāmatu, man uzreiz radās vēlmi to izlasīt. Pirmkārt tādēļ, ka tā bija latviešu valodā un otrkārt, viņa man labu laiku stāv izlasāmo sarakstā.

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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 The first of four chapters, “Power”, consists of short, informative episodes regarding the eminent roles of metals such as gold, platinum, palladium, iron, uranium, plutonium, and mercury. These, for example, stand for the manifestation of empires such as the Spanish colonial empire in the 15th century through gold and platinum, the development of technological advantage as in the case of the complex story of iron, and the race to develop the atomic bomb with the “Manhattan Project”. This book reveals so many details about the discovery of elements as well as cases in which such elements were used in crimes,etc. The book also revealed to me how several of the famous scientists/discoverers were acquainted with one another and that they would seek each other's opinions. Definitely a must read for anyone interested in chemistry. Not only a cultural history of the elements, it is also a lament to the loss of science as a hobby"

Periodic Tales - Hugh Aldersey-Williams - Google Books Periodic Tales - Hugh Aldersey-Williams - Google Books

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 remember while taking a chemistry class not too long ago that though the nitty gritty details were sometimes daunting, boring, or downright frustrating, it was always the stories about the elements or their discoverers that helped put everything in context, making it a richer learning experience. Seeing as how the history behind the elements wasn't the point of taking the chemistry class I sought out books that would help fill the gap. Access-restricted-item true Addeddate 2021-05-10 08:00:35 Boxid IA40110407 Camera Sony Alpha-A6300 (Control) Collection_set printdisabled External-identifier Periodic Tales Penguin, 2011 ‘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 RidleyBy far the most interesting aspect of this work is Aldersey-Williams’s attention to how we, as human beings, attach meaning to the elements, which are objective and uncaring about such signifiers. The book’s central idea is to show how these meanings are often just as much a reflection of ourselves as they are about the physical properties of the elements themselves. Within the elements, we find ourselves, as we anthropomorphize them and witness how they evolve alongside us and our needs within a particular era. 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). That the author is way into his topic is proved by the line "...we should all have a little piece of spent uranium to keep in the garden as a momento of our reliance upon it for our energy." I'd rather opt for a gnome. After many years away from taking multiple chemistry classes in high school, college and dental school, I found this book an enjoyable return to being a student again. The author takes you through an historical journey of the discovery of the natural and man made chemical elements. Many details of the elements discovery, uses, and other trivia are revealed in this book.The author's journey through Mendeleev's periodic table gave me a new appreciation of Mendeleev's organizational genius of grouping related elements and creating the table before most of the elements had been discovered . The new man made elements continue to enlarge the periodic table but still fit into the original table's format. Random relationship tip here: it’s always good to date intelligent people, and even better when you take the opportunity to learn things from them you otherwise wouldn’t have known. That way, if/when things end, you can say you learned a great deal from your experience in more ways than one, lol.

Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements - Goodreads

The periodic table of the elements has been an icon in chemistry since 1869. Anyone who is looking for striking tales and interpretations of the cultural significance of the elements would be enthusiastic about Periodic Tales and would find it hard to put down. The discovery of elements (the famous table is longer than it was when I took chemistry), the scientists and properties and uses are discussed. You’ll read some great stories. There was a time when arts and sciences were closer. Alchemy became just too fanciful for science. When the Enlightenment era came along leading scientists, artists and poets could all sit down and appreciate each other’s work. Difficult to imagine today. 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. Also, some of the names I saw engraved on the chemistry building in college now have new meaning and were discussed in the book. One name for example was Berzelius who helped chemistry by determining the method to calculate atomic weights and developed the modern chemical symbols for the elements used in chemical equations.The elements do not belong in a laboratory; they are the property of us all. Periodic Tales is a record of the journey with the elements that I never encouraged to take when I was a chemist,” writes Aldersey-Williams in the introduction. With this start, the author presents an unorthodox and invigorating look at the elements in our cultural history and in many areas of everyday life. Aldersey-Williams takes the reader on a personal and emotional journey through the world of several elements along with their discoverers and discovery location. This book combines non-technical popular science writing with history and culture to examine some of the elements that make up the periodic table. Seven metals have been known since ancient times: gold, silver, copper, tin, lead, iron, and mercury, since they can be found either in their pure forms or in compounds that were easily extracted by early tools. The Greek philosopher Empedocles, around 330 BCE, proposed the idea that all matter was made up of tiny, indivisible particles, but his was only one of a number of theories, and it was Plato’s division of all things into air, earth, fire, and water which caught on and was the dominant position for almost two thousand years. Eventually, during the golden age of alchemy, additional elements were discovered, such as antimony, zinc, bismuth, and antimony, but it took centuries before they were recognized as true elements. Periodic Tales– A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc by Hugh Aldersey-Williams presents an introduction to the elements of the periodic table, their properties, their history, and the stories that surround them. himself as the Latin for 'coq' was 'gallus'. He had named it after France as Latin for France is 'gallia'.He played it Grob thematisch gegliedert widmet Aldersey-Williams seinen Elementen oder manchmal auch zusammengehörigen Elementegruppen ein eigenes Kapitel und zeigt, dass Chemie in alle Lebensbereiche hineinspielt und keinesfalls nur aus öden Formeln und hin und wieder mal einem Experiment mit Knalleffekt besteht. Er berichtet zudem von seiner eigenen Leidenschaft für das Fach und seinem Versuch, sich ein eigenes Periodensystem mit Proben aller existierenden Elemente zusammenzubauen (Spoiler: es ist ihm nicht gänzlich gelungen).

Wider Reading List (Optional) — Wilmslow High School Wider Reading List (Optional) — Wilmslow High School

Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements/A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc of a synthetic route to make ammonia from atmospheric nitrogen. After discussions, Haber resolved to pay the 269 billion goldmarks Iron has long thought to have male warlike properties. The metallic taste of blood was explained when Vincenzo Menghini roasted the blood of several mammals and poked the residue with a magnetic knife and found iron particles. Mars is covered with iron which a b c Farmelo, Graham (January 30, 2011). "Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersey-Williams: review". The Telegraph . Retrieved 13 March 2017. Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc". Publishers Weekly . Retrieved 13 March 2017.The A level course is divided in to 3 broad areas with equal weighting over the 2 year course: physical, inorganic and organic chemistry. In year 12 we teach content in all 3 areas, and the topics we will cover are Although the book is roughly organized by cultural categories, the book still seems a little disconnected throughout. Some of the connections to themes such as “power” and “beauty” are a bit tenuous at times, lending to a rather haphazard structure. Since Aldersey-Williams forgoes organizing the book chronologically, the stories jump around greatly in time and location, making any kind of narrative thread pretty difficult to untangle. The book reads like a series of short stories/nifty trivia facts than a cohesive whole. It’s a book of little anecdotes rather than a coherent narrative, and some are well-rounded and focused while others meander and then suddenly end with little warning.

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