Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements
Like the alphabet or the zodiac, the Periodic Table of the chemical elements is one of those graphic icons lodged permanently in our memories. But, aside from the handful that we run across daily, the elements themselves remain wrapped in mystery. We do not know what most of them look like, or how they arise in nature. We don't know how they got their names, who discovered them, or of what use they are to us.
What we do often have is a set of rich cultural associations. We may know little about krypton, but we have all heard of kryptonite. The sodium colour of street lights floods dystopian London fiction. Titanium lends its toughness to the names of male grooming products. Neon illuminates Piccadilly Circus and zinc once lined the bars of Montmartre.
PERIODIC TALES is a popular science book that brings readers into direct contact with the fundamental building blocks of the universe. But it also reveals the intricate ways that the elements are woven into our culture, history and language, making it a unique and original bridge between science, literature and the arts - and bringing the iconic Periodic Table to life as never before.