The chemical elements and the basic principles of chemistry are the foundations of all scientific study, but this is the first book devoted to making information about the elements easily available and understandable. A Guide to the Elements begins with an introductory section that explains some of the basic concepts of chemistry and traces the history and development of the periodic table of the elements. In clear, nontechnical language, using historical anecdotes and everyday examples, noted science writer Albert Stwertka makes complex ideas and terms easily understandable. Each of the 112 elements is discussed in a separate article accompanied by photographs--many in full color--of practical applications of the elements. Middle school and high school students will find this a welcome reference, as will adults with no background in chemistry. An excellent "look-it-up" resource as well as a superb introduction to chemistry, A Guide to the Elements is a good beginning step on the road to chemical literacy.