Twenty-five centuries ago, Democrates of Abdera discovered that all things are made up of atoms, that all atoms have the same building blocks, and that matter can never be destroyed. In the late nineteenth century, the Russian scientist Mendeleev noticed that chemical properties repeated themselves periodically, after each seven elements. In the 1890's Roentgen smashed apart the neat structure of atomic theory with his discovery of X-rays.
Robert Silverberg brings us the full history of the atom from the alpha ray to the xi particle. How did man first discover the atom? Why do atoms behave as they do? What are they made of?
It is the story of the chain reaction of ideas. One man's suggestions triggering new theories, new knowledge, new mysteries. In this book Silverberg captures the excitement of discovery and experimentation in man's continuing quest to master the atom.