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

Peter Atkins

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Science Masters, Prose: non-fiction, Physical chemistry

A 'travel guide' to the periodic table, explaining the history, geography and the rules of behaviour in this imagined land.

The Periodic Kingdom is a journey of imagination in which Peter Atkins treats the periodic table of elements - the 109 chemical elements in the world, from which everything is made - as a country, a periodic kingdom, each region of which corresponds to an element. Arranged much like a travel guide, the book introduces the reader to the general features of the table, the history of the elements, and the underlying arrangement of the table in terms of the structure and properties of atoms.

Atkins sees elements as finely balanced living personalities, with quirks of character and certain, not always outward, dispositions, and the kingdom is thus a land of intellectual satisfaction and infinite delight.

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