(almost up to date)

In week 13 of my 52 weeks – 52 new things challenge, I read a book – a non-fiction book, even! It was Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, in which he explores the histories of the elements, and the social stories which have been woven around them.


It was an interesting read – the stories of how different elements were discovered are fascinating. I was particularly impressed to read that the so-named “rare-earth” elements are actually not rare at all. Some of them are apparently more abundant than elements like tin and copper, but the rare-earths are much harder to isolate.

Actually, that piece of information was a relief to me, because I had always vaguely imagined a scarce resource being squandered on stuff like extra-powerful fridge magnets. Of course, I could have looked up the information about abundance any time, but I hadn’t, and now I don’t need to!