Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

The Elements by Gray (Popular Science columnist; cofounder, Wolfram Research; creator, The Periodic Table of the Elements , CH, Oct'09, 47-0871) is a beautifully illustrated book that both chemist and nonchemist would find intriguing. It is a catalog in layperson's language of all the "stuff" of which the known universe is composed: elements 1-100, which are characterized, the more stable ones done extensively; elements 101-109, where only a few dozen atoms have been synthesized; and elements 110-118, which "exist" only in a heavy ion accelerator. After a brief tour of the periodic table, including orbitals and electronic structure, there is a two-page presentation of each element as it falls in the periodic table. For example, the first page for carbon contains a full-page picture of a faceted diamond (the element in its pure form). The second page has five short paragraphs of descriptive text, pictures of carbon-containing material (e.g., coal, a steel diamond-embedded disk for grinding, copper-clad graphite welding electrodes), and essential scientific data (position in the periodic table, atomic weight, density, atomic radius, crystal structure, electron order filling, atomic emission spectrum, temperature for the states of matter). A delightful coffee-table book, at a bargain price. Summing Up: Recommended. Chemistry students and general readers. J. Landesberg Adelphi University

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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Gray, an element collector and Popular Science columnist, has created a visual homage to the periodic table of the elements. The book begins with an introduction to the arrangement of the periodic table. The first 100 of the elements are each profiled on a two-page spread. The left-hand side of the spread features a large color image of the element in its true form, when possible. The right-hand side includes various images of ways the element appears in the world and explanations of some of the compounds in which it can be found. For example, the Selenium entry includes images of selenium sulfide medicated shampoo, Brazil nuts (which are high in selenium), and a red vase that gets its color from a selenium glaze. Most of the images are items from the author's personal collection. A column running down the right-hand page offers information on the element's location in the periodic table and its atomic weight, density, atomic radius, and crystal structure in addition to charts portraying its electron order filling, atomic emission spectrum, and states of matter at various temperatures. Because of their instability and short half-life, or because they have not yet been discovered, elements 101 through 118 are presented in two groups of nine. The volume concludes with a brief bibliography and an index in addition to a foldout poster of the periodic table. This eye-catching book is certain to appeal to students and casual browsers alike.--Ostergard, Maren Copyright 2010 Booklist