Caramel often enjoys reading big encyclopedic books on various scientific and technological topics. See for example his review of a big book on engineering, and another big book on dinosaurs. Today he is talking about his recent favorite: The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: So Caramel what do you want to tell us about this book?
Caramel: I like it because I like elements.
S: What are elements?
C: Elements are like atoms. Hydrogen, oxygen, uranium, tin are all elements.
S: Yes, those are some good examples of elements. Elements are the building blocks of all matter. Why don’t we read from the beginning of the book?
“THE PERIODIC TABLE is the universal catalog of everything you can drop on your foot. There are some things such as light, love, logic and time that are not in the periodic table, but you cannot drop any of those on your foot. The earth, this book, your foot–everything tangible–is made of elements. Your foot is made mostly of oxygen with quite a bit of carbon joining it, giving structure to the organic molecules that define you as an example of carbon-based life. (And if you’re not a carbon-based life form: welcome to our planet! If you have a foot, please don’t drop this book on it.)”
S: So the book starts with an introduction to the periodic table.
C: Yes, in the beginning of the book, there are seven pages of information about the periodic table. In the next two pages, they talk about s-orbitals, p-orbitals, d-orbitals, and f-orbitals.
S: What are those?
C: The shape of the shells that electron clouds make around the center of the atom. The seed of the atom!
S: Yes, it is called the nucleus in English, but it is in the middle, like a central seed, like a peach would have.
C: Or a cherry! A watermelon would not work though, because watermelons have many seeds. But I like watermelons!
S: I know! But let us get back to the book. After these few pages of introduction material on chemistry, the rest of the book is …
C: about each element! Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, Neon.
S: Yes those are the first ten elements.
C: So each element has two pages, all the way up to Einsteinium and Fermium, which have numbers 99 and 100.
S: Yes, those are the atomic numbers. They count how many protons the element has in each of its atoms. So yes, each of the first hundred elements gets its own two-page spread.
C: Wait! No! Aluminum (13) and Titanium (22) get four pages! Iron (26) gets four pages too! Copper (29), Tungsten (74), Gold (79), Lead (82), Uranium (92) all have four pages to themselves. They’re greedy!
S: I guess so. But they are also important elements. Or at least the author thinks they are. Or maybe he just likes them… So what is your favorite element Caramel?
C: I have two. Titanium (22) and Uranium (92).
S: So what did you learn about Titanium from this book?
C: Titanium is strong but light. You can make golf clubs, and artificial hip joints from Titanium. You can use it on razor blades. You can also use it in dental implants. Then you have a titanium tooth!
S: I might! You’re right! Maybe we can stop here, before we give away more private health information, no?
C: Yeah, I guess so. So here are my last words for this review: Stay tuned for more book bunnies adventures!