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Download Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Periodic Tales: A Cultural History of the Elements, from Arsenic to Zinc, by Hugh Aldersey-Williams Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Hugh Aldersey-Williams Narrator: Antony Ferguson Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In the spirit of A Short History of Nearly Everything comes Periodic Tales. Award-winning science writer Hugh Andersey-Williams offers readers a captivating look at the elements—and the amazing, little-known stories behind their discoveries. Periodic Tales is an energetic and wide-ranging book of innovations and innovators, of superstition and science, and the myriad ways the chemical elements are woven into our culture, history, and language.

Like the alphabet, the calendar, or the zodiac, the periodic table of the chemical elements has a permanent place in our imagination. But aside from the handful of common ones—iron, carbon, copper, gold—the elements themselves remain wrapped in mystery. We do not know what most of them look like, how they exist in nature, how they got their names, or of what use they are to us.

Unlocking their astonishing secrets and colorful pasts, Periodic Tales is a passionate journey through mines and artists’ studios, to factories and cathedrals, into the woods and to the sea to discover the true stories of these fascinating but mysterious building blocks of the universe.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Aldersey-Williams’s playful, hands-on approach to scientific exploration shines through the book.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Charming…Aldersey-Williams writes with simplicity and elegance. The stories may not help you on your next chemistry test, but they’ll help you appreciate the building blocks that are all around us yet all too easy to overlook.”

    Associated Press

  • “Fascinating and beautiful…If only chemistry had been like this at school…[A] rich compilation of delicious tales.”

    Prospect magazine

  • “Lighthearted erudition…Aldersey-Williams presents a veritable blizzard of facts, anecdotes, and cultural allusions in this informative look at the world’s building blocks…His virtuoso tour of the periodic table reflects its full complement of the human condition.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A lucid, enjoyable collection…that, element by element, demystifies the iconic periodic table.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Narrator Antony Ferguson’s British accent adds just the right touch to the author’s style.”


  • An Audible.com Bestseller
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About the Author

Hugh Aldersey-Williams graduated from Cambridge with a degree in natural sciences, majoring in chemistry. He has since written widely on both science and technology in newspapers and magazines ranging from Popular Science and New Scientist to the Independent, and the Guardian. He is the author of Anatomies, Periodic Tales, and The Most Beautiful Molecule, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He lives in London.