Four Elements : Water, Air, Fire, Earth
The stuff the earth is made of. In a tour de force of writing Rebecca explores the science, the scientists, the legends and the stories connected with water (from tidal waves to the health-giving properties of bathing), air (from hurricanes to humming bees, fire (from the invention of cooking to recent discoveries about lightning) and earth (from earthquakes to catapults). The ancient Greeks saw the world as made up of the four elements and in many ways, in spite of all advances in science, that is how most of us directly experience the world. Rupp presents Greek science and modern atomic theory, Aristotle and the periodic table. The substantial sections devoted to each elements range widely from creation myths and volcanoes to plate tectonics and the tides. And at the core of each is a wonderfully informative discussion of every aspect: thus in 'Water' she talks of drinking water and mineral water and thermal springs, of bathing and swimming (by humans and animals and fish), of snow and ice and refrigeration, of rain and hydrographics, of waves and the oceans. Finally, 'The elements are more than the useful shorthand of chemical equations. The four, in their symbolic aspect, are the romance at the heart of science.' From atomic theory to oxygen bars, from supervolcanoes to the anatomy of the candle, Four Elements is a multifaceted journey of discovery through the elements, real and symbolic, that shape our lives. No one will leave this book without feeling hugely enriched.
- Hardback | 384 pages
- 142 x 216 x 40mm | 598.75g
- 02 Jun 2005
- Profile Books Ltd
- London, United Kingdom
It is a down-to-earth, sky-high romp through reality: every page an eye-opener. -- Tim Radford * Guardian * A book of popular science so replete with illuminating facts that they seem to ricochet about like volatile atoms. * Financial Times *
About Rebecca Rupp
Rebecca Rupp has a Ph.D in cell biology. She has written on various topics for many magazines and has published several books. She lives in Vermont with her husband and three sons.