Nature's Building Blocks 

  • by John Emsley
  • Narrated by Kevin Scollin
  • 25 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Written by award-winning science writer John Emsley, this informative and highly enjoyable book explains the what, the why and the wherefore of the elements. Arranged alphabetically, from Actinium to Zirconium, it is a complete guide to all the elements that are currently known, with more extensive coverage of those we encounter in our everyday life. The entry on each element reveals where it came from, what role it may have in the human body, the foods that contain it, how it was discovered, its role in human health, the uses and misuses to which it is put, and its environmental role. The new edition includes the three chemical elements discovered since the first edition - Darmstadtium, Roetgenium, and Copernicium - and the section on "transfermium elements" has now been incorporated into the main part of the book. In addition, Emsley has added new information on the economic uses of elements such as Scandium and Gold. Praised by Nature as "amusing and finely crafted," Nature's Building Blocks offers a pleasurable tour of the very essence of our material world.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Content Good! Delivery Bland

I'm a big fan of Chemistry... Why? I studied Chemistry at the tertiary level. So when I saw this book I was pretty willing to give it a listen, in fact I actually stopped listening everything else to give this a listen. I was NOT impressed...

Content wise I think it was good to average, it provided quick details on every element in the periodic table, providing details on their basic chemistry in the process. It would serve as a good lexicon of elements with melting point, boiling point, discovery, basic chemistry, usage and so on. What killed this title in general for me was the narration. I mean even if there was more that could be learned from this book the narration was so painful to listen to I found myself almost dozing off throughout the course of the book. I could see this book being more useful as a written title and not as an audio book.
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- Theodore

Interesting but not suited for an audio format

Any additional comments?

Chemistry was never really my thing but the description intrigued me so I decided to give this audiobook a try. It takes the listener through the elements of the periodic table in alphabetical order, giving some history of the element, it's uses, where it is found , its abundance etc. This isn't the sort of book you are going to devour from cover to cover in one sitting. I kept coming back to it between other audiobooks. Thee are lots of interesting facts and tidbits here, the kind you would probably learn in an advanced high school chemistry class. On the positive side, you don't have to be an expert to follow along. On the downside, this really is more like a reference book and thus, is probably better enjoyed in a readable format where the reader can skip between the various elements rather than having to proceed through them sequentially.

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- Scott

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-22-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios