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Publisher's Summary

Selected as one of the best books of 2018 by the Daily Mail.

In 2016, with the addition of four final elements - nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson - to make a total of 118 elements, the periodic table was finally complete, rendering any pre-existing books on the subject obsolete.

Tim James, the secondary-school science teacher we all wish we'd had, provides an accessible and wonderfully entertaining 'biography of chemistry' that uses stories to explain the positions and patterns of elements in the periodic table. Many popular science titles tend to tell the history of scientific developments, leaving the actual science largely unexplained; James, however, makes use of stories to explain the principles of chemistry within the table, showing its relevance to everyday life.

Filled with humour, this is the perfect audiobook for students wanting to learn chemistry or for parents wanting to help, but it is also for anyone who wants to understand how our world works at a fundamental level. The periodic table, that abstract and seemingly jumbled graphic, holds (nearly) all the answers.    

As James puts it, elements are 'the building blocks nature uses for cosmic cookery; the purest substances making up everything from beetroot to bicycles.'

Whether you're studying the periodic table for the first time or are simply interested in the fundamental building blocks of the universe - from the core of the sun to the networks in our brains - Elemental is the perfect guide.

©2018 Tim James (P)2018 Hachette Audio UK

Critic Reviews

"Witty, pacy and fascinating...the best book on science I've ever read." (Karl Dixon)

"A hugely entertaining tour of the periodic table and the 118 elements that are the basic building blocks of everything." (Daily Mail)

What listeners say about Elemental

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Best intro to Chemistry

Elemental is the best intro to chemistry I have found. Unlike so many survey books and courses that dilute the concepts of chemistry with thermodynamics, material engineering or historical narratives etc. Elemental focuses on what makes chemistry foundational, the Atoms!

The underlying structure of an atom and the behaviours of electrons is what is conceptually required for an intuitive understanding of chemistry, this audio book delivers this exceptional well.

It uses fantastically crafted analogies, quippy anecdotes and vert subtle (yet brilliant) descriptions that make the distinctions between concepts that much more accessible, reducing cognitive load and helping category memory.

I could not recommend this more highly, although the Great Courses (TTC) and MIT open learning are great if you have a background already, this course IS the background. And the description of what the Schrodinger equation is trying to say in the appendix is the cherry on top of a.. no simpler than necessary work of teaching art.

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  • chris
  • 02-12-2020

A story about some interesting chemicals

A book about interesting discoveries and elemental importance. No chemistry background is needed to enjoy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Claire S.
  • 17-08-2018

A book for anyone who wants to understand the the discovery’s and wonders of the universe

I’m a GCSE student and I’m not the greatest at science but I do like to improve on my knowledge of the world and people around me. So I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to expand on there knowledge about what’s makes the universe the universe and to have a wider and deeper understanding of what is happening all around you.

Jake

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  • London Nige
  • 07-05-2020

Brilliantly interesting

I got this to help my son with his school work, but found it so interesting and brilliantly told that I have now listened to it twice and rate it as my favourite audio book.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Final Yr Med Student
  • 10-12-2019

Once I started I couldn't stop

It was very useful for my knowledge about the elements. I loved it!
Dylan aged 8

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-06-2020

Very interesting

Very interesting and accessible filled in a lot of gaps in my knowlege good background for anyone studying science

1 person found this helpful

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  • mjheath
  • 19-11-2019

This was the most fantastic book that I have heard in science. And being a doctor that is saying something.

I would recommend this book to anyone with interest in chemistry. Brilliantly read and will be using some of the information in my future lectures to medical student. Well done to both the author and narrator.

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  • JJ
  • 06-08-2019

Really enjoyed this.

Loved the way it was read, funny little things here n there, overall very informative.

1 person found this helpful

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  • D. Robertson
  • 05-04-2021

Nice introduction to chemistry

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in chemistry but doesn’t need a textbook. Firmly in the coffee table class of books. Well written with enough wry humour to keep the story interesting. Would also suit anyone who enjoyed chemistry at school but can’t remember why...

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  • Dean Randall
  • 30-03-2021

Great book

Very interesting and fun. Well explained and researched. Would recommend for all ages if your interested in science.

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  • Mr. GG Platt
  • 01-03-2021

Interesting and entertaining

An illuminating trip through the periodic table. Not too heavy on the science or the history of the elements but just enough to keep you listening.

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  • Robert M B Brandt
  • 14-08-2020

Informative and entertaining

With a very well chosen narrator this book handles a weighty topic with humour and a lightness of touch in a way that really helps information to stick in one's mind, a rare trick, especially with an audiobook. Although I'll certainly give this book more than one listen, I'm aware that I have processed and remembered much more information than with other popular science titles and I've been entertained!

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