Book Review: The Periodic Table by Tom Jackson
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway to facilitate writing this review. No other compensation was requested or offered.
The periodic table was developed in 1869 by Dmitri Mendeleev as a way of categorizing elements, substances that cannot be refined or purified into simpler ingredients. When it was shown that the table was able to predict the properties of elements not previously discovered, the chart was accepted by scientists, and remains a useful tool for chemists and and science students. This book looks at how the periodic table works, and what the elements are.
This book is stuffed full of colorful infographics and solid facts. After an explanation of how the periodic table works and the properties of each “group,” there’s a section that explains how atoms work and basic elemental chemistry and physics. There’s also a “directory” giving a page or two to each individual element–up to Fermium, as the trans-Fermian elements have barely existed on Earth so there’s little to say about them. The science is up to date as of 2017.
With many helpful illustrations and its sturdy cover, this book is clearly designed for high school libraries. There’s a glossary and index, but the acknowledgements (mostly photo credits) are crammed into tiny type on one page.
This was originally published in Britain, so does have British spellings, most obviously “aluminium.” The book touches briefly on anthropogenic climate change, and frequently on the age of the universe, which some parents might find controversial.
While the primary audience is libraries, this would also make a cool gift for science-loving teens, and a useful reference work for writers who are, say, writing Metamorpho the Element Man for DC Comics or other element-related fiction. If you have some spare cash, check with your local school library to see if they need this book.
And because it’s mandatory: