Seven Elements That Have Changed The World

Seven Elements That Have Changed The World : Iron, Carbon, Gold, Silver, Uranium, Titanium, Silicon

3.61 (279 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Humans have put the Earth's resources to extraordinary use. Carbon provides us with heat, light and mobility at the flick of a switch. From silver came photography, the preservation of memories, and a task which for centuries was confined to painters, sketchers and our imaginations. Silver in turn was eventually replaced by silicon, an element which enables us to communicate and transmit information across the globe in an instant. But our use of the Earth's resources is not always for the benefit of humankind. Our relationship with the elements is one of great ambivalence. Uranium produces both productive nuclear power and destructive atomic bombs; iron is the bloody weapon of war, but also the economic tool of peace; our desire for alluring gold is the foundation of global trade, but has also led to the death of millions. This book vividly describes how seven key elements have shaped the world around us - for good and for bad. Seven Elements takes you on an adventure of human passion, ingenuity and discovery. This journey is far from over: we continue to find surprising new uses for these seven elements.
Discover how titanium pervades modern consumer society; how natural gas is transforming the global energy sector; and how an innovative new form of carbon could be starting a technological revolution. Seven Elements is a unique mix of science, history and politics, interwoven with the author's extensive personal and professional experience.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 155 x 241 x 28mm | 620g
  • WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 8
  • 0297868055
  • 9780297868057
  • 695,227

Review Text

'The progress and prosperity that humanity has achieved ...', writes John Browne, `is driven by people - scientists, business people and politicians'. The author has the rare distinction of having wide and deep experience of all three fields, and this is what makes Seven Elements such a fascinating and enjoyable book. Part popular science, part history, part memoir, these pages are infused with insight, shaped by the experience of a FTSE 100 Chief Executive and lifted by the innate optimism of a scientist. Brian Cox
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Review quote

'The progress and prosperity that humanity has achieved ...', writes John Browne, 'is driven by people - scientists, business people and politicians'. The author has the rare distinction of having wide and deep experience of all three fields, and this is what makes Seven Elements such a fascinating and enjoyable book. Part popular science, part history, part memoir, these pages are infused with insight, shaped by the experience of a FTSE 100 Chief Executive and lifted by the innate optimism of a scientist. -- Brian Cox Seven Elements is a boon for those, like me, who gave up science much too soon in our teens. John Browne has found a fascinating way of helping us break through the crust of our ignorance. The scientific literate too will relish his personal mix of historical knowledge and technical prowess with his gift for making the complicated understandable. -- Peter Hennessy The human quest for knowledge and insight has led to extraordinary progress. It has transformed the lives we lead and the world we live in. But that onward march has also thrown us huge challenges about how we treat each other and the planet on which we live. This book forces us to confront these realities and does it in a unique and fascinating way. It weaves science and humanity together in a way that gives us new insight. This is an expertly crafted book by a unique thinker and talented engineer and businessman. -- Tony Blair John Browne uses seven elements, building blocks of the physical world, to explore a multitude of worlds beyond. From the rise of civilizations, to some of today's most important challenges and opportunities, to the frontiers of research, he weaves together science, history, politics and personal experience. Browne tells a lively story that enables us to see the essential elements of modern life in a new, original and highly engaging way. -- Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Quest: Energy, Security and the Making of the Modern World and The Prize
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About John Browne

John Browne (Lord Browne of Madingley) was born in Germany in 1948 and joined BP as a university apprentice in 1966, rising to Group Chief Executive from 1995 to 2007, where he built a reputation as a visionary leader. He is an engineer, collector and businessman. He was voted 'Most Admired CEO' in Management Today every year from 1999 to 2002, and is a fellow of the Royal Society and of the Royal Academy of Engineering. His memoirs, Beyond Business, were published in 2010. He is now Managing Partner of Riverstone Holdings LLC, and international energy private equity firm, a Fellow of the Royal Society (UK), President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Chairman of the Tate Gallery.
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Rating details

279 ratings
3.61 out of 5 stars
5 19% (52)
4 40% (111)
3 28% (77)
2 12% (34)
1 2% (5)
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