The Elements We Live By: How Iron Helps Us Breathe, Potassium Lets Us See, and Other Surprising Superpowers of the Periodic Table
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WINNER OF THE 2018 BRAGE PRIZE
'[T]his lovely book. An enjoyable sweep through topics ranging from respiration to space exploration -solid science presented in an engagingly human way'
Andrew Crumey, author of The Great Chain of Unbeing
'Perfect popular science . . . not just a well-written story about the elements, but a book about being human in the world today'
Asmund H. Eikenes, author of Splash: A History of Our Bodies
We all know that we depend on elements for survival - from oxygen in the air we breathe to carbon in the molecular structures of all living things. But we seldom appreciate how, say, phosphorus holds our DNA together or how potassium powers our optic nerves enabling us to see.
Physicist and award-winning author Anja Royne takes us on an astonishing journey through chemistry and physics, introducing the building blocks from which we humans - and everything else in the world - are made. Not only does Royne explain why our bodies need iron, phosphorus, silicon, potassium and many more elements in just the right amounts in order to function, she also shows us where in the world these precious elements are found (some of them in limited and quickly depleting quantities).
Royne helps us understand how precariously balanced our lives - and ways of living - really are, and to appreciate little known and generally unsung heroes of the periodic table in an entirely new light.