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Reviews

“Scerri tries to understand the construction of the periodic table within the context of the history of matter theories . . . He insists that it results form the collective work of many chemists.”
–Nature

“This book is a fine addition to the history and philosophy of chemistry, fields that Scerri himself has played an important role in developing.”
–American Scientist

“An absolutely gorgeous book. I put it on my bedside table and then stayed up half the night reading it—it is immensely readable.”
–Oliver Sacks, author of “The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat”

“Eric Scerri’s new book is a most appropriate work to mark the centenary of the death of Dimitri Mendeleev. The title—‘The Periodic Table: Its Story and Its Significance’—gives a fair idea of the book’s contents, and the author’s approach and perspective are captured by his statement that he is concentrating on “the fundamental scientific and philosophical ideas that underpinned the evolution of the system.” This, then, is a book about scientific ideas. Scerri does provide brief biographical sketches of each of his scientific protagonists, but biographical, social and cultural context rarely intrude into the narrative.”
–Seymour Mauskopf, American Scientist

“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.”
–Simon Davies

“By writing this book and describing his philosophy, Scerri has done us a great service. Every chemist should read this book.”
–Chem 13 News

“There are few aspects of the story of the periodic system that Scerri would not tackle and would not make exciting.”
–Istvan Hargittai, Acta Crystallographica

“As one of the pioneering scholars in the philosophy of chemistry, Scerri has produced a comprehensive new book on the history and philosophy of the periodic system, which surpasses van Spronsen’s book, and the result is a good antidote to reasearches who claim that chemistry is now only a reduced science or a service science.”
–International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry

“Only two monographs in English, by Francis Preston Venable and Jan W. van Spronsen . . . have dealt both in general and in detail with the history and evolution of the table and the problems that have developed in connection with it through the years . . . Scerri’s volume, under review here, is a worthy successor to these classic tomes, for he has left no stone unturned in ferreting out information from articles, books and archives.”
–The Chemical Educator

“Eric Scerri is something of a rara avis. Scerri’s philosophical orientation enriches the text by raising a number of thought-provoking issues . . . The book under review here is clearly and engagingly written and meticulously researched with 42 pages of notes.”
–Journal of Chemical Education

“The quality is not merely skin deep, there is a real scholarship inside . . . I would have been proud to have written this book rather than just contributing one image.”
–Education in Chemistry

“This is undoublty a book that every practising chemist and chemistry educator should read because of its far-reaching implications for understanding the nature of the periodic law and the challenges it presents to contemporary portrayals of the Periodic Table.”
–Newsletter of International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Group

“‘The Perodic Table: Its Story and Its Significance’ should be of great interest and value to chemists and particularly to those chemists who teach about what makes up us, our world, and our science.”
–Journal of Chemical Education

“Resembling a surreal checkerboard, the periodic table of elements has acquired a mythic significance in our time, as Ptolemy’s spheres did in the Middle Ages. Yet the table did not fall from the sky. It has a very terrestrial history; a complex and fascinating one. A century after the death of Mendeleev, the Russian with whom the periodic table is most famously associated, Scerri relates that history in his clear and absorbing account. Especially intriguing are his ruminations on a quasi-philosophical question, which is grist for the mills of reductionists and anti-reductionists alike: Can chemistry be reduced to quantum physics?.”
–San Francisco Chronicle

“It is an extremely rare occurrence to have the privilege of reviewing a book that is truly the definitive work in its field: ‘The Periodic Table’ by Scerri is such a book.”
–Rayner Canham

“There are few aspects of the story of the periodic system that Scerri would not tackle and would not make exciting.”
–Istvan Hargittai, Budapest University of Technology and Economics

“Eric Scerri’s first book is timely, fluently written, and full of interesting ideas.”
–Metascience

“This is undoubtedly a book that every practising chemist and chemistry educator should read because of its far-reaching implications for understanding the nature of the periodic law and the challenges it presents to contemporary portrayals of the Periodic Table.”
–Science & Education

“It is probably the best book about the best classification system ever constructed. It should belong to any library supporting teaching and research in Knowledge Organization.”
–Professor Birger Hjorland, Royal School of Library and Information Science

“It is a thought-provoking work in the history and philosophy of science, and for those with a true scholarly passion for chemistry, this book is definitely one to consider.”
–Journal of College Science Teaching

“By writing this book and describing his philosophy, Scerri has done us a significant service.”
–Structural Chemistry

“Scerri’s book is scholarly and extremely well documented and, in large measure, fulfills its stated objective of establishing ‘that one of the best ways to explore the relationship between chemistry and modern physics is to consider the status of the periodic system.’”
–Current Science

“It is valuable for students and teachers in sciences, as well as in the philosophy, and any other discipline that has some reference to chemistry.”
–Ivan Jurani, University of Belgrade

“Scerri also deserves full credit for reminding the scientific as well as the historical communities that chemistry is a discipline with great ideas and philosophical implications that are just as fundamental and intriguing as those of physics.”
–Centaurus

“This book is full of many more interesting historical accounts that relate to the development of the periodic table than can be mentioned above. Much of the history of the periodic table that is recounted in this book is not generally part of the taught curriculum in the geological sciences. The book is well written and very readable, and full of information that could be used to embellish the historical perspective of lectures in mineralogy or geochemistry. I highly recommend this book.”
–American Mineralogist

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