Nature's Building Blocks

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

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John Emsley's Nature's Building Bocks 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.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 720 pages
  • 152 x 234 x 40mm | 1,079.54g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition, Revised
  • New, Revised, Updated
  • Four black and white figures, and numerous tables
  • 0199605637
  • 9780199605637
  • 108,707

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Review quote

Review from previous edition Review from previous edition Emsley's design, layout and presentation is logical, clear and beautifully written. The introduction itself is both informative and full of unexpected, yet valuable information ... I would recommend the work particularly as an essential bookshelf companion for all teachers of chemistry and as a project resource for students of all levels. Chemistry in Britain March 2002 ... [an] astonishingly comprehensive survey of nature's fundamental ingredients ... New York Times 02/04/2002 A readable and entertaining guide ... Doubles as both an accessible reference source and an enjoyable and fascinating 'dip into' read. Materials World 01/12/02 What for many might be a dry and dusty collection of facts has been turned into an amusing and finely crafted set of mini-biographies... This is a fine, amusing and quirky book that will sit as comfortably on an academic's bookshelf as beside the loo ... Nature, 01/11/01 ... fascinating book ... deeply useful for both teachers and students of chemistry, at almost any level ... New Scientist, 11/08/01 This book is like a bar of Cadbury's chocolate: You can't eat just one square. Having said this, I think this is a wonderful book for scientists of all persuasions Andrew R. Barron, C & EN

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About John Emsley

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 Exhibition, Was 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.

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