The Periodic Table by E.R.Scerri

Eric R. Scerri teaches Chemistry and the History and Philosophy of Science at UCLA and is editor-in-chief of the philosophy of chemistry journal Foundations of Chemistry. His new book, The Periodic Table: Its Story and Its Significance is his perspective on this foundational system of the study of chemistry.A Complete HistoryThere have been very few major works on the Periodic Table published during the last century, so Scerri has set out to set the record straight. His purpose is two-fold. First, in the light of many simplifications in general chemistry textbooks, he gives a more complete history of the development of the periodic system. Second, from his expertise in the philosophy of chemistry, he seeks to rescue the subject of chemistry from the reductionism that claims to explain all of chemistry with quantum mechanics.Exciting NarrativeIn general he has achieved these aims in a book which covers a lot of ground in relatively few pages. The first section on - top article - the history of the development of the - read this post here - periodic system almost verges on exciting as he leads the reader from one scientist to the next as they pursue the tantalising relationships between different elements as they are discovered. He always writes from the point of view of the scientists themselves and refrains from reading current knowledge into the situation. At times this is frustrating as the reader longs to help Prout, Cannizaro, Newlands, Mendeleev and the others with a simple explanation of electronic structure. Scerri is determined to avoid the simplifications of school textbooks and gives each scientist due merit for their contribution to the - check my site - slow evolution of the - - theory.Philosophy of ChemistryHe introduces the philosophy of chemistry from time to time, pointing out how the understanding of the nature of elements, atoms and compounds changed over time. Mendeleev, especially, is shown to have made his important contribution through his commitment to a particular philosophy of chemistry (p118).Quantum ReductionismThe final - - chapters in which the place of quantum mechanics is explained is well balanced, avoiding the extremes of over-simplification on one hand and too much mathematics on the other. While the majority of chemists assume that quantum mechanics has been able to calculate from first principles the electronic structure and hence the whole periodic table, Scerri shows that this is not the whole truth. He shows that, while chemistry owes a lot to the insights of physicists like Niels Bohr and Irving Langmuir, the periodic system is still based as much on chemical observations as on quantum equations.This book is an important contribution to the history of an important tool in the study of chemistry. Its clear history and - - interesting explanations of the philosophy of the elements will mean that it will be useful for all kinds of students of chemistry and general science.Book Details:The Periodic Table: Its Story and Its Significance by Eric R. ScerriOxford University Press, 2007ISBN 13 978-0-19-530573-9