The Periodic Kingdom: A Journey into the Land of the Chemical Elements

The Periodic Kingdom: A Journey into the Land of the Chemical Elements

The Periodic Kingdom: A Journey into the Land of the Chemical Elements

The Periodic Kingdom: A Journey into the Land of the Chemical Elements

Synopsis

Come on a journey into the heart of matter- and enjoy the process!- as a brilliant scientist and entertaining tour guide takes you on a fascinating voyage through the Periodic Kingdom, the world of the elements. The periodic table, your map for this trip, is the most important concept in chemistry. It hangs in classrooms and labs throughout the world, providing support for students, suggesting new avenues of research for professionals, succinctly organizing the whole of chemistry. The one hundred or so elements listed in the table make up everything in the universe, from microscopic organisms to distant planets. Just how does the periodic table help us make sense of the world around us? Using vivid imagery, ingenious analogies, and liberal doses of humor P. W. Atkins answers this question. He shows us that the Periodic Kingdom is a systematic place. Detailing the geography, history and governing institutions of this imaginary landscape, he demonstrates how physical similarities can point to deeper affinities, and how the location of an element can be used to predict its properties. Here's an opportunity to discover a rich kingdom of the imagination kingdom of which our own world is a manifestation.

Excerpt

I have always been struck by the opening of Somerset Maugham's The Vessel of Wrath. The author sits in his study, leafing through the Yangtse Kiang Pilot, and in his mind's eye the tide tables and navigation directions gradually take on a sense of reality. In his imagination the contours and tables give way to a richer version, as he becomes aware of trees, roofs, and finally the people who are the subjects of his tale. So I would like you to accompany me on a journey of imagination through the austere navigation chart of chemistry, the periodic table of the elements. But in our mind's eye we shall see it as a country-- the Periodic Kingdom--populated, as we shall see when we descend to its surface, by personalities. We shall fly through the landscape of the kingdom, see its rolling hills, its mountain ranges, its gorges, and its plains. We shall land, and walk among its broad meadows and across its hills. We shall even burrow beneath the surface, and discover that there is a hidden structure, a mechanism, that controls and governs the kingdom. For this is a rational place.

The periodic table is arguably the most important concept in chemistry, both in principle and in practice. It is . . .

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