Lost Elements coverI’ll admit that when I received my advance copy of The Lost Elements; The Periodic Table’s Shadow Side from Oxford University Press, I thought that they had quite possibly achieved publishing Nerdvana. A history of the periodic table is one thing – but its “shadow side?” How many dark secrets about it could there possibly be?

As it turns out, quite a lot. After giving it an initial skim, I was absolutely astonished. Marco Fontani, Mariagrazia Costa, and Mary Virginia Orna have not only found a way to tell the story of this ubiquitous but not always fully appreciated table, they have very well managed to make it genuinely intriguing.

Now roughly half way through my full reading of the book, I am still finding myself occasionally stopping and saying to myself “I’m reading a history of the periodic table and thoroughly enjoying it!”

Look for a full review of this very promising book here in the not too distant future.