"When we look at these nice, neat, and straight rows of elements on the Periodic table of the Elements we might think that it was a nice, neat, and straight road to their discovery. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was a long and difficult journey much like the perilous wanderings of Odysseus in Homer's great epic tale, The Odyssey. Of course the wanderings made it an adventure, and an adventure is always an exciting thing to retell."
Author Benjamin Wiker leads the reader on a delightful and absorbing journey through the ages, on the trail of the elements of the Periodic table as we know them today. He introduces us to people like Von Helmont, Boyle, Stahl, Priestley, Cavendish, Lavoisier, and their successors, all incredibly diverse in personality and approach. Their questions and experiments, and the unraveling of their misunderstandings form the basis of Dr. Wiker's witty, but solidly instructive presentation. It is suitable to middle school age, with the later chapters designed for ages 12-13 and up, and a final chapter somewhat more advanced. Young and old alike are invited to explore the mystery, tasting the perils—and pleasures—of an ongoing adventure.
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