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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN ELEMENTAL DELIGHT: a colourful tour of the chemical elements, Feb. 2 2011
By 
Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe (Hardcover)
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"The periodic table is the universal catalogue of everything you can drop on your foot...The Earth, this book, your foot--everything tangible--is made up of elements. [An element is a substance whose nuclei contain a specific number of protons]...Elements have two faces: their pure state, and the range of chemical compounds they form when they combine with other elements...In this book I try to show both faces of every element...

I started collecting elements in 2002...Thanks in part to eBay...by 2009, I had assembled nearly 2300 objects representing every element...Element collecting isn't a big hobby...Compared to [other collecting hobbies], we element nuts are few and far between."

The above is found in the introduction and conclusion of this unique book by Theodore Gray. Gray is a science author, science magazine columnist, and the proprietor of periodic table dot com.

This book is based on seven years of research and photography.

How many people or even scientists can boast that they have actually seen all of the chemical elements in their pure form, not combined with other elements? This is what makes this book unique.

Most of the pages of this book are composed of a double-page spread of each of the elements.

On the left page of each double-page spread is a large photograph of the pure element (where physically possible) along with the element's chemical symbol and atomic number. (An element's atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of every atom of that element.) You can see what I mean by looking at the cover of this book (displayed above by Amazon). Here there are seventeen pure elements displayed just as they appear in the book. (Actually the pictures in the book are much larger).

For example if you look at the top row of elements displayed on this book's cover, you'll come across an element every organism on Earth is familiar with, namely oxygen. It's chemical symbol, as shown, is O. It's atomic number is 8. (This information is commonly written as "oxygen (8))." What really stands out is the picture of oxygen which is pale blue.

You might be saying to yourself, "What's this guy talking about! The colour of the oxygen I breathe in has no colour." That's true for oxygen gas. But liquid oxygen ("LOX") is actually a beautiful pale blue.

On the right page of each double-page spread is "examples of the ways that element lives in the world--compounds and applications that are especially characteristic of it." As well, there is brief text describing interesting aspects of the element.

On the right page is also a column showing selected physical properties (such as atomic weight, density, and atomic emission spectrum) of the element. The explanation and definitions of these physical properties are explained at the beginning of the book. (In fact, there is much explanatory material at the book's beginning that should be carefully read so as to enjoy the rest of the book.)

Note that in this book the elements are presented in sequential atomic number order beginning with Hydrogen (1), Helium (2), Lithium (3), Beryllium (4), and so on. The double-spreads for each separate element end at the element with atomic number 100, named Fermium . A few elements that have many applications (such as Gold, Iron, and Copper) have a second double-page spread.

Elements Mendelevium (101) to Meitnerium (109) have one double-page spread devoted to them as do elements Darmstadtium (110) to Ununoctium (118). (Note that "Ununoctium" is a temporary placeholder name only. Also, this element is, at the time of writing of this book, the last one discovered.)

I almost missed this since there is no table of contents with this book. At the very back is a "picture" periodic table (that has no atomic weights). You can tear this out. In my case, I just didn't have the heart to tear it out of this beautiful book.

Finally, I wish the author had included for every element the element's date of discovery and country of discovery. (To be fair, he does mention these for a few elements.) I would also have liked to know the number of stable isotopes for each element. (An isotope of an element has the same number of protons, but a different number of neutrons.)

In conclusion, this book is a rare combination of hard science and photographic artistry. Question: Who is this book for?? Answer: It is for every sentient creature in the universe. Personally, this book deepened my appreciation of the chemical substances that make up me and the world!!

(first published 2009; quotation and introduction; the periodic table as a whole; the major groups of the periodic table; how the periodic table got its shape; explanations and definitions of the physical properties presented for each element; elements with atomic numbers 1 to 100; elements with atomic numbers 101 to 109; elements with atomic numbers 110 to 118; conclusion: the joy of element collecting; main narrative 235 pages; bibliography; acknowledgements; index; periodic table tear-out poster)

<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent visual presentation of the elements, Aug. 23 2011
By 
Eric Boyer (Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe (Hardcover)
This book is an excellent presentation of the elements by an avid element collector. The book is full of high-quality pictures, showing the elements in both their pure form and their various applications, as well as brief, but good descriptions of their history, uses, and trivia. The author is very passionate about this subject, which makes for an informative, but entertaining read.

The book's layout is simple: each of the first 100 elements gets 2 facing pages (4 for more important elements), starting with hydrogen, and going on up. The left-hand page is a full-page image of the element in pure or very close to pure form, and the right-hand page contains the text describing the element, as well as several pictures of devices that are made up the element. Often these are pictures of the thousands of things that the author has collected for his element collection over the years. For the more important or more interesting elements, there are an additional 2 pages of photos. All of the elements also include diagrams showing their crystal structure, electron orbitals, and melting and freezing points, and other important information.

Elements 101-118 have shorter information sections and no pictures because there is very little relevant information about them.

Overall, this is a very high-quality book. It's well-written (I don't remember seeing any spelling or grammar mistakes); the pictures are well-taken, have good lighting, and are high resolution; the book is made of thick, strong paper; and the ink and print quality is among the best.

This book is excellent light reading and is a perfect coffee table book. Each element's section is short enough that it can be read in a minute or two, so it's great to have around for people to look at when they come over. Also, it's very non-technical, so almost anyone can read it. I'd recommend this book to pretty much everyone, especially those with an interest in science and chemistry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most beautiful science book., Dec 19 2009
By 
This review is from: The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe (Hardcover)
In this coffee table sized book the elements of the universe have never looked so good or been described in a more interesting fashion.When you open the book the each element is given 2 pages .The left page contains a large photograph of the element in its natural or refined state while the right page contains more photographs and a description the elements properties, it's uses and other interesting facts regarding it's existance in the universe.Finally there is some technical information regarding it's atomic weight , structure, density and other facts.All in all over 200 pages of facinating science.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars wong1919.5.4, Feb. 22 2011
This review is from: The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe (Hardcover)
Intended for young people but older ones like me found in this very interesting reading material:), and would like to recommend the book to teachers and parents alike , thanks to the author and photographer's hard work ,
readers like me were brought up-to-date about things learned years ago (on the subject of the Periodic Table)......

Maybe the next step is to order the Cards for elements:).........
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5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable ELEMENTS, Sept. 18 2010
By 
Reflection Haiku "Lily Wang, Author" (California, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe (Hardcover)
This 239 paged encyclopedia-standard guide about the 118 elements in the priodic table is one of its kind: comprehensive, informative and innovative. Elements may seem like testing materials only but this book reminds readers that elements are what our tangible universe made of and ignites excitement in young children to learn more. THE book showcases each element with glorious full-page photographs with images that are familiar to us and with texts stunningly humorous, educational and entertaining. Within the two pages readers also get essential scientific data about the elements from its weight, density, radius, crystal structure to Electron Order Filling, Atomic Emission Spectrum and State Matter.

Our 8-year old refers to it often and it will be put into good use for many years. This book is practical and serves as his own coach that takes him by hand to explore every known atom in the world. When asked what he liked most in the book, he answered "I like Boron the most(5; p22)because it is harder than diamond and you can find it in silly potty." Mr. Gray should be happy to know that "Poor Boron- with a name like that," has finally earned some respect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best coincidence ever!, March 2 2012
By 
Michael Dunn (KW, Ont Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe (Hardcover)
This is a gorgeous picture book, but also filled with real and detailed information, written by someone who loves the subject. Worth getting, for yourself, or as a gift.

The coincidence? I'd been taking the occasional interesting artifact in to work to show my techie colleagues. One day, after looking around for something unusual, I grabbed a radioactive Polonium based anti-static brush made in 1957! (Amazingly, it's still made, and available on Amazon!) They were amazed, and a bit scared :-), even though it was radioactively dead after 55 years. When I got home, this book was in my mailbox. I quickly unpacked it, not really having time to look at it yet, but let it fall open to a page, just to have a quick look. Guess what page. Polonium! But, that isn't the best part. Guess what one of the pictures on the Polonium page is. Uh huh... the brush!!!

Best ' coincidence ' ever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well done, Theodore, Aug. 24 2010
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This review is from: The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe (Hardcover)
If you're looking for a great book to give to any quirky, science-minded individuals you might happen to know, this is it. You will see lots of pictures of lustrous gray metals, but the expositions on each element are entertaining and informative. I particularly liked the segues at the end of each discussion, to introduce each new element. The author is a little opinionated and misinformed when it comes to things like homeopathy and nutritional supplementation, but if you can get by that, this book is well worth it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Book So Nice I Bought It Twice, Nov. 30 2010
By 
Mnemonic (Toronto, ON, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe (Hardcover)
As a grade 6 teacher who loves science, I took my copy of Elements to share with the class. Oh woe! The book was manhandled, with some of the pages being torn. I decided the best course of action was to buy a second copy, just for me. This is a fantastic read and I wholeheartedly recommend it!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent gift for anyone even remotely interested in the elements., April 20 2013
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This review is from: The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe (Hardcover)
I purchased this as a gift for someone who has always had a fascination for the elements. This booked opened up a whole new world of understanding for him through stunning visuals, fascinating short descriptions, and fast-facts about the building blocks of the observable Universe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book., Dec 30 2012
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The book draws you in with the great photographs of the elements and things made of them and educates you before you know it.
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