Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements

ISBN : 9780199605637

John Emsley
720 ページ
163 x 233 mm
  • An accessible and entertaining A-Z guide to the building blocks of ourselves, the earth, and the Universe
  • Fully revised and updated to include three new named and validated elements, along with a new 'Deadly element' section and 'Economic element' updates
  • Excellent reference source and fascinating 'dip into' read about the elements cited regularly in the news, whether in the context of the environment, our diet, or the world around us

New to this Edition:

  • Addition of three new named and validated elements: darmstadtium, roetgenium, and copernicium
  • Updates to economic importance and activity of various elements, e.g. Gold and Scandium
  • New uses are described, e.g. helium has new uses such as the helium ion microscope
  • Entries for the toxic elements; mercury, thallium, lead, arsenic, and antimony have been re-written and updated
  • Includes a new section on the 'Deadly element' for those that are dangerously toxic
  • Updated Periodic Table included
  • All element entries brought up-to-date

John Emsley's Nature's Building Blocks was published in paperback in 2003. In this readable, informative, and fascinating guide to the elements are entries on each of the 100-odd chemical elements, arranged alphabetically from actinium to zirconium. Each entry comprises an explanation of where the element's name comes from, followed by Body element (the role it plays in living things), Element of history (how and when it was discovered), Economic element (what it is used for), Environmental element (where it occurs, how much), Chemical element (facts, figures, and narrative), and Element of surprise (an amazing, little-known fact).
Since publication of the first edition there have been a number of developments. Three new chemical elements have been named and validated: darmstadtium, roetgenium, and copernicium and the section on 'transfermium elements' has now been incorporated into the main part of the book. Economic uses of elements have grown, and some quite rare elements such as Scandium are now economically important, along with updates to elements such as gold due to new roles in industry. Fully revised and updated for 2010, this browsable compendium holds a wealth of useful information.


The elements (A-Z)
The periodic table
Appendix: the discovery of the elements in chronological order
Lists of elements and atomic numbers


John Emsley, Chemistry Department, University of Cambridge
John Emsley won the Science Book prize in 1995 for his Consumer's Good Chemical Guide, and followed this with a series of popular science books: Molecules at an ExhibitionWas it Something You Ate? (co-authored with P. Fell), and The Shocking History of Phosphorus, all of which have been translated into many other languages. After 20 years as a researcher and lecturer in chemistry at London University, he became a freelance writer, as well as Science Writer in Residence, first at Imperial College London and then at Cambridge University. In 2003 he was awarded the German Chemical Society's Writer's Award.

"My favourite non-fiction book" - Rory McGrath, Daily Express