I was tapping my pencil on the desk out of complete boredom. Our sixth grade science class was learning about the periodic table and I wasn't impressed. All those boring boxes with strange names sitting in front of me. The table represents all matter known to man, but to me it was lifeless. Just words and numbers on a page. I memorized the information I needed to know and promptly forgot everything the moment I turned in my exam. I thought that would be the end of my journey with the table of elements. Thankfully, I was wrong.
I recently leafed through a new book on the library shelves, thinking my brother might enjoy reading it. The book I picked up is called The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray and it did something I could not have predicted. It breathed life into those boxes with odd names and crazy numbers. Gray tells the story of each element by employing captivating photographs, bite-size trivia, practical information, and sometimes downright quirky tidbits. Did you know that the potassium in bananas makes them both healthy and radioactive? Ever heard of Tellurium? It's one of the rarest elements, yet it is found in nearly every home. Tellurium is used in rewritable DVDs and Blu-Ray discs. Once I started reading, I didn't want to put it away.
I felt like I had discovered buried treasure with this book, or Au if you prefer. I did check out a copy for my brother, but the first copy went home with me. Try this book if you've always thought the elements were something to be endured when you were in school. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised as the incredible world of the elements is revealed with every new page.