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  • Elemental

  • How the Periodic Table Can Now Explain (Nearly) Everything
  • By: Tim James
  • Narrated by: Roger Davis
  • Length: 5 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (155 ratings)

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Elemental

By: Tim James
Narrated by: Roger Davis
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Summary

Selected as one of the best books of 2018 by the Daily Mail.

In 2016, with the addition of four final elements - nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson - to make a total of 118 elements, the periodic table was finally complete, rendering any pre-existing books on the subject obsolete.

Tim James, the secondary-school science teacher we all wish we'd had, provides an accessible and wonderfully entertaining 'biography of chemistry' that uses stories to explain the positions and patterns of elements in the periodic table. Many popular science titles tend to tell the history of scientific developments, leaving the actual science largely unexplained; James, however, makes use of stories to explain the principles of chemistry within the table, showing its relevance to everyday life.

Filled with humour, this is the perfect audiobook for students wanting to learn chemistry or for parents wanting to help, but it is also for anyone who wants to understand how our world works at a fundamental level. The periodic table, that abstract and seemingly jumbled graphic, holds (nearly) all the answers.    

As James puts it, elements are 'the building blocks nature uses for cosmic cookery; the purest substances making up everything from beetroot to bicycles.'

Whether you're studying the periodic table for the first time or are simply interested in the fundamental building blocks of the universe - from the core of the sun to the networks in our brains - Elemental is the perfect guide.

©2018 Tim James (P)2018 Hachette Audio UK

Critic reviews

"Witty, pacy and fascinating...the best book on science I've ever read." (Karl Dixon)

"A hugely entertaining tour of the periodic table and the 118 elements that are the basic building blocks of everything." (Daily Mail)

What listeners say about Elemental

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    4 out of 5 stars

A book for anyone who wants to understand the the discovery’s and wonders of the universe

I’m a GCSE student and I’m not the greatest at science but I do like to improve on my knowledge of the world and people around me. So I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to expand on there knowledge about what’s makes the universe the universe and to have a wider and deeper understanding of what is happening all around you.

Jake

9 people found this helpful

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Best lay book

This is the best lay book I have read on quantum mechanics. Entertaining throughout and very informative. Makes sense of a difficult subject. Recommend to any curious mind

3 people found this helpful

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Brilliantly interesting

I got this to help my son with his school work, but found it so interesting and brilliantly told that I have now listened to it twice and rate it as my favourite audio book.

2 people found this helpful

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Once I started I couldn't stop

It was very useful for my knowledge about the elements. I loved it!
Dylan aged 8

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Very interesting

Very interesting and accessible filled in a lot of gaps in my knowlege good background for anyone studying science

1 person found this helpful

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This was the most fantastic book that I have heard in science. And being a doctor that is saying something.

I would recommend this book to anyone with interest in chemistry. Brilliantly read and will be using some of the information in my future lectures to medical student. Well done to both the author and narrator.

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  • JJ
  • 06-08-19

Really enjoyed this.

Loved the way it was read, funny little things here n there, overall very informative.

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Brilliant teacher. A+++ to Roger Davis Narrative

A gift to teaching fantastic explanation of science and chemistries. I recommend anyone to read it.
But where is the PDF reference!

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Wonderfully entertaining

The book is packed full of anecdotes, explanations abd descriptions, some of which I'm recounting to my young son, especially ClF3 being able to make water burn, it's so flammable. Brilliant book.

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Entertaining and educational!

Well narrated, full of interesting facts and entertaining. Well worth the listen. I've replayed it several times. A QI of the elements.

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  • chris
  • 02-12-20

A story about some interesting chemicals

A book about interesting discoveries and elemental importance. No chemistry background is needed to enjoy.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Trevor lipsey
  • 03-06-21

hilarious, it kept me wanting more!

the humor was great, and the reader was amazing at capturing the books stories! loved it

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tatras
  • 06-11-22

Funny and understandable.

Seasoned with lots of interesting trivia. The narrator has a lot of character and reminds me Moss from IT crowd - someone will like it someone not, I did.

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  • Dennis M Danzik
  • 26-10-22

Highly Recommend

Great research. Great teaching. You cannot lose reading this information packed volume of knowledge!

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  • Caroline
  • 15-10-22

Fun Chemistry

I agree with other reviews that this is an entertaining overview of the periodic table and interesting ancillary topics from physics, chemistry and a bit of biology. Narrator’s voice is pleasingly upbeat.

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  • Trevor (Swiss) Williamson
  • 07-08-22

Entertaining for any laymen

Chucked full of history and chemistry. Lots of research went into this book. I will be coming back to it.

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  • Sam
  • 12-05-22

Chemistry Can not be More Simpler

This is all what a chemistry student needs for development of a solid base. Tim's way of explanations span smoothly from elementary to graduate level. From solubility to entropic disorders, states from gaseous to plasma, how coke is made of, and a wide range of real life examples/facts and accidents.....the title simply can not to be missed.

Wish Tim's series continue beyond Astronomical and Fundamental; and more to append on recent Semiconductor/OLED/WiFi Communication technologies to Modern Computers with exotic terms.

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  • jose
  • 26-02-22

Great help

Great book for understanding the periodic table history. Makes wanting to learn it more enjoyable

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-07-21

meh

I don't like the way the reader read. His changes in volume we're annoying. it was like he would whisper and all of a sudden get really loud again.

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  • Sarah
  • 06-06-21

Fascinating, entertaining, illuminating, relevant!

If I had only had access to this book before going into chemistry lessons in school! This book is one of my favorite listens of all time. Packed with scientific facts with relevant history and real world stories to go with them, I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s ever been the slightest bit curious about the world around us for a most exciting and entertaining story about the basic building blocks of our world. I loved it through and through!!!