I really enjoyed this book. It's one of those great books that riffs on a simple theme, in this case the periodic table, and pulls in stories from all over - science, history, trivia. The author loves his language a little too much for my taste in places, and is a little too clever at times, but I'd rather have a rich dessert than something plain. Sean Runnette does an admirable job most of the time, making me wince only a few times, like when he mispronounces "kludge", and occasionally his sentence fragments have the wrong emphasis, and so miss the point of the sentence, but again, I've got no major complaint. The one error in the book that I heard is when the author states that our "galaxy" has 9 planets, when he no doubt meant to say "solar system". The text is full of "Author's Note" asides which are enjoyable little detours and details.
If you like science books in the vein of Simon Winchester, for instance, you'll enjoy this book.
The author/narrator is a joy to listen to. Brings science to life. Who thought the elements would be wounderous (or fun?)
No other book comes to mind.
No characters-just narration done perfectly.
Science is f-n awesome!
Great book, don't hesitate. Kids are doing a relisten with me and beg for a few more minutes at the end of each chapter. Great facts to start any adult conversation as well....No regrets-science is awesome!
I am a geek and just loved all the interesting stories that connected to the much beloved periodic table!
There were too many wonderful characters in this book to pick just one. I am a fan of Rosalind Franklin who was robbed of a much deserved Nobel Prize.
I was obsessed and listened at every opportunity.
If the educational system taught such subjects like this, high schoolers would learn the stuff. This would be a great text for a non-science major needing a science elective. I bought Sam Kean's latest and will start on it very soon.
What a great way to look at and learn about such an overwhelming and large topic. Puts the elements in their place and makes them exciting obtainable and more understandable.
I haven't listened to anything (that i know of) by Sean Runnette but will again.
Wonder and amazement
Should be listened to by budding and not so budding chemist alchemist and other such inquisitive minds.
An enjoyable book that weaves together tales of the Periodic Table. Not only does the book describe the order of the table, and it's development, but interesting anecdotes about many of the elements contained, such as tales of discoverers, of controversies, of mistaken identities (of elements), and very interesting historical facts. I really enjoyed reading about how the chemistry of dyes led to the first antibiotic therapies - the sulfa drugs, how radium was discovered, how elements combine, how they're separated. And about the whole competitive area of research that is centered around finding new elements! Who knew!?
The story-telling style makes it easy to understand and stay focused. That's important because some of the chemistry can be a little complex. But it doesn't bog down the book or the reader.
I found myself going to Google several times to find out more about the chemistry and the people described in this book.
I almost ordered a gallium kit off Amazon to make my own disappearing spoon! I still might. Who knew so much fun with chemistry was so within reach!?
Learning the obscure history behind each element.
I can listen while on road trips!
Sorry, thats just not my style..
Highly recommend it!
If you have any interest in the Periodic Table, this is the book to pick up and listen to. It is a fascinating, and in some ways unbelievable, series of short, interconnected historical stories tied back to the narrative backbone of the Periodic Table; the stories usually focus on specific elements or the groups in which they reside.
If you have ever wondered why some elements are named the way they are, this book answers that. If you have ever wondered how elements are discovered, or in what order they were discovered, or where they were discovered, or what their uses are, or which ones are dangerous, or which ones are beneficial--this book answers all of those questions and more.
The narrator is entertaining--almost tongue-in-cheek--without detracting from the information being presented. I would agree with some of the other reviewers who say that the book is scattered; in some ways it is, but I found that advantageous, because I could pick up and listen to an hour here and there without having to consult (metaphorical) notes on what happened before.
The layperson might become a little confused on the science, but it is clearly explained, and there isn't too terribly much of it; however, anyone with some science background, especially chemistry, will probably get more out of it.
Again, highly recommended to anyone who has an interest in chemistry, likes the Periodic Table or wants to find out more about the Table and its history.
I liked his author's asides, I have the feeling of the author standing there and going ohhhohhohh......so that the reader has to add in his extra information.
I have not taken very many general science classes. High school biology and chemistry. For my Master's Degree in Deaf Education I took science classes such as anatomy, and an understanding of sound. I enjoyed listening to the stories in this book. I remember the periodic table of elements and as a special education middle school teacher have had to introduce chemistry to students who had learning problems. I found making element models from unifix cubes and marshmallows and gumdrops, helped them understand a little bit about the table.
I think this book has a great way of explaining the history of science.
This brought the elements home and made them interesting and new. Now I have a better understanding of where they come from, how they effect me and some of their more unusual aspects.
I've not read the hard-copy of this book, but the audio was great!
The detailed stories shared of the various scientists and their contributions to the p.table / science....so many!! The mad scientist who invented and utilized nerve gas and elements for war purposes; disgusting, but interesting.
Lots of information about just every element; the content got heavy near the end, and I started to tune out.