Una ricca panoramica delle storie che stanno dietro la scoperta di iogni singolo elemento chimico della tavola periodica di Mendeleev. Con aneddoti e curiosita' che rendono il libro, e la chimica, umana e affascinante.
I appreciate the author's intent of showing the historical and cultural sides of chemical elements, but he could have been less long-winded. At times I had to skim-read because of the sheer volume of tedious details.
Anyway it's worthwhile to quote a message of the author:
"We should cherish and celebrate our necessary involvement with the elements. We may not wish to start our own periodic table, but we should at least try to be happier about the unavoidable fact that we depend in one way or another upon almost all of them. The scientist and environmental activist James Lovelock once said he would be willing to store all the high-level waste from a nuclear power station in a concrete bunker on his land. But perhaps we should spread it around: we should all have a little piece of spent uranium to keep in the garden as a memento of our reliance upon it for our energy. Too much? Maybe. But what of all the other elements? The copper that invisibly brings the electricity generated by the nuclear reaction of that uranium into our homes? The rare earths in the phosphor screens of the devices brought to life by this electricity? What of the carbon and calcium that engrave all human history with their black and white? And what of the other elements that colour our world? First and last, our dependence on the elements is biological, as we are reminded when we review the sodium salt content of a TV dinner or pop a supplement pill containing selenium–the latest, by the way, in a long line of elements to be singled out as a fashionable nutrient. We eat them or avoid them, dig them up or bury them, but we rarely stop to appreciate the elements for what they are."...Continua