Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The culture, history, and nature of the chemical elements, 26 Jan. 2010
This review is from: The Elements: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Previously published as 'The Ingredients: A Guided Tour of the Elements', this book lends itself well to the Very Short Introduction format. It is the second adaptation in the series from gifted science writer Philip Ball, and like his first VSI (Molecules) it is well-paced, nicely-illustrated, and radiates his enthusiasm for the discipline. In 170 pages he takes the reader on a carefully selected journey through chemistry: from its earliest origins right up to its significance in cutting edge technology.

He begins with the system of four elements proposed by the ancient Greeks - air, earth, fire and water, before moving on to the medieval alchemists' belief in the transmutation of the elements, and then the back-to-front 'phlogiston theory' of the 18th century, that would eventually lead to the discovery of oxygen. He also devotes a chapter to gold - its extraction, its symbolism and its practical uses. It isn't until chapter 4 that we see how the elements are actually organized, from Dalton's atomic symbols, to the modern Periodic Table. We also learn what a particular element's placement in the Table can tell us about its properties.

The rest of the book covers the 20th century to the present day. Chapter 5 focuses on the race to make new elements, and covers nuclear fission and fusion. Chapter 6 looks at the discovery of isotopes and the groundbreaking ways they were put to use, from carbon-dating to medical imaging. Finally, chapter 7 explores an arbitrary selection of lesser-known elements and examines their practical usage, from the noble gas argon, to palladium, once known as 'new silver', now the vital component of catalytic converters.

Together with a historical account of the discovery of the atom and an overview of atomic mass and atomic weight, this is a superb little book. At this size, it's not a comprehensive introduction by any means, but Ball has handpicked a good selection of topics, and covered them well. There is plenty here to whet your appetite (or fill the knowledge gaps that have opened up since leaving school) and Ball's writing ensures that this is one of the better entries in the VSI series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The elements of elements, 2 Oct. 2005
By 
Peter Reeve (Thousand Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Elements: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
If you are familiar with this series, you will not be surprised to learn that this book is not a conventional tour of the periodic table. In fact, the table does not make an appearance until half way through. Part of what the author does is to illustrate the impact of Earth's elements on human history. The stories of oxygen and gold are singled out for particular attention. This is not the book you need for a first chemistry course. It is what you need to get you enthused about the subject, to help you appreciate what an exciting and significant discipline it can be.
This fine series is slightly marred by a tendency to typographic error. This book is no exception, and you will struggle to make sense of figure 15(b). Oddly, in the list of figures at the front, there is a request that readers notify the publishers of errors in the list. I don't think I've seen anything quite like that in any book before. It suggests that they realize they have a proofreading problem. Instead of asking readers to be on the alert, wouldn't it be better just to have a word with the printer?
At 179 pages, this is one of the longer entries in the series, and every page glows with the author's enthusiasm for his subject. It adopts a rambling, somewhat unstructured approach but is packed full of fascinating historical and scientific detail. And yes, when the author does finally get around to the periodic table, he gives as good an explanation of it as you will find anywhere.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Introduction, 19 Nov. 2006
By 
M. Pennington (Leeds) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Elements: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
It's great to read a science book by someone who can see beyond his own little world. The elements? Let's start with the ancients, Greeks and the like, and work from there. Fantastic! I've ordered the sequel (Molecules) already.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Gold Mine, 17 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Elements: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
If you need a succinct account about the elements-this short introduction is the book for you. Well set out and easy to understand. If you need something to get you in the mood, I would suggest Angels and Alchemists by A Hall (no relation). Also 'Periodic Tales' is a good read for the budding chemist.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for teachers, 18 Nov. 2010
By 
This review is from: The Elements: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
I like this book as I am a physics teacher with a limited appreciation of chemistry. It's an interesting read in itself but there are loads of facts and analogies that are very useful in the classroom. Whether the pure chemist will rate this as highly is for them to debate but for somebody teaching out of their primary subject this is an excellent resource.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars I love it, 10 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Elements: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Great, above my expectations!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Very Good Very Short Introduction (OUP VSI), 11 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Elements: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
I'm an enthusiast of the OUP Very Short Introductions. I'm a greater enthusiast of buying them on Amazon where the variable discount can be as high as 40%.

In general VSIs offer a useful but scarcely trivial introduction to a topic. Don't think that you get the Noddy Guide to <<choose your topic>>; thinking and understanding are also required. On the other hand you are not going to pass even a GCSE on the strength of these alone.

If you want more there is usually a very good reference list for further reading.

VSI The Elements is an interesting introduction to a number of elements and their nature with particular reference to their position in the Periodic Table, In this it form a useful companion to VSI The Periodic Table, which is more focussed on its history and development.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 13 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Elements: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Excellent
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Elements: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
£7.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews