In 1869 Dmitri Mendeleev presented the world with the Periodic Table. It contained 63 elements, many more than the four--earth, water, fire, and air--established in the ancient world, but less than half the total in our modern table. Mendeleev believed there were many elements still to come. He was right. With over 300 illustrations, this essential guide to the Periodic Table, tracks the history of a powerful yet elegant tool that lays bare the building blocks of the Universe. The journey begins just as the first cities are forming, and follows the contributions made by philosophers, alchemists, industrialists, and great scientists as they gather force to create this masterpiece of accumulated knowledge. The story includes Democritus of ancient Greece who said that the four elements of nature must be made of atoms; otherwise our world is just an illusion, and the French aristocrat Antoine Lavoisier, who was the first to show that water is not an element at all. From the ancient Greek philosophers to the alchemist who boiled urine until it glowed in the dark, to the British inventor who described the powerful effect of electricity on a dead body to Mary Shelley (before she wrote Frankenstein) to the theologian who observed mice becoming unconscious when dangled over brewing beer, the discovery of the elements is a story with many chapters. The thoughts and deeds of great thinkers always make great stories and here are a hundred of the most significant. Each story relates a confounding puzzle that became a discovery and changed the way we see the world. We call these Ponderables. Includes a removable fold-out concertina neatly housed in the back of the book. This fold-out provides a 12-page Timeline History of the Periodic Table that embeds the story of chemistry in historical context and shows Who Did What When at a glance. On the reverse side is a 12-page Chart of Elements in Atomic Order providing scientific data for all 118 elements
From magic, to alchemy, to modern chemistry -- learn the history of the periodic table and of the people that discovered the elements.