What links the Taj Mahal and our skeleton? The Eiffel Tower and our blood? The salt on our food and the street lamps that guide us home? The answers are calcium, iron and sodium - each one an element. Forged in the Big Bang and in supernovas, the elements and their resulting compounds went on to create our Solar System, the planet we live on, the air we breath, the water we rely on, and the proteins that would become life. This book features every one of the 118 known elements. Some, like carbon, oxygen and aluminum, are familiar; others, like gadolinium and tellurium, are not. Inside the book you will find the elements' vital statistics, their important compounds and applications and the fascinating histories of their discovery. You will also find clear and concise explanations of what an element is, how and why the elements are arranged in the periodic table, and of the structue of atoms, the building blocks of everything around you. The Elements is your defnitive illustrated guide to the elements. it is authoritative, accessible and filled with wonder.