Antimony, Gold, and Jupiter’s Wolf: How the elements were named by Peter Wothers

Reviewed by
March 2020, no. 419
Robyn Arianrhod reviews 'Antimony, Gold, and Jupiter’s Wolf: How the elements were named' by Peter Wothers

Antimony, Gold, and Jupiter’s Wolf: How the elements were named

by Peter Wothers

Oxford University Press, $40.95 hb, 280 pp

Antimony, Gold, and Jupiter’s Wolf: How the elements were named by Peter Wothers

Reviewed by
March 2020, no. 419

Imagine you’re trying to make sense of the universe five hundred years ago, when astronomers believe there are just seven visible ‘planets’ wandering about the Earth: the sun and moon plus Mercury to Saturn. Intriguingly, there are also seven known metals: gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead, and mercury. For hundreds of years there have been just seven known ‘planets’ and seven metals. Wouldn’t you be just a little tempted to see more than a coincidence here? Take gold, for example, which ‘does not react with anything in the air or the ground, and so retains its brilliance seemingly forever’: surely its power is similar to that of the ever-shining sun?

Robyn Arianrhod reviews 'Antimony, Gold, and Jupiter’s Wolf: How the elements were named' by Peter Wothers

Antimony, Gold, and Jupiter’s Wolf: How the elements were named

by Peter Wothers

Oxford University Press, $40.95 hb, 280 pp

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