THE BEAUTY OF CHEMISTRY: Art, Wonder, and Science

The Beauty of Chemistry: Art, Wonder, and Science by Philip Ball. Available from AmazonThe Beauty of Chemistry: Art, Wonder, and Science by Philip Ball

Chemistry is not just about microscopic atoms doing inscrutable things; it is the process that makes flowers and galaxies. We rely on it for bread-baking, vegetable-growing, and producing the materials of daily life. In stunning images and illuminating text, this book captures chemistry as it unfolds. Using such techniques as microphotography, time-lapse photography, and infrared thermal imaging, The Beauty of Chemistry shows us how chemistry underpins the formation of snowflakes, the science of champagne, the colors of flowers, and other wonders of nature and technology. We see the marvelous configurations of chemical gardens; the amazing transformations of evaporation, distillation, and precipitation; heat made visible; and more.


The visuals in The Beauty of Chemistry are drawn from the online exhibition Envisioning Chemistry created by Wenting Zhu and Yan Liang in collaboration with the Chinese Chemical Society. These striking images are accompanied by accessible, engaging explanations by award-winning science writer Philip Ball.

“Philip Ball is a serendipitous writer, pursuing adventurous science. He loves to persuade and enchant his readers to celebrate the uncanny beauty of chemistry.” Dudley Herschbach, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Harvard University

“This book combines rich descriptions of chemical phenomena with stunning photography of them as they happen. As a child, I was drawn to chemistry by the wonders of precipitating powders, fizzy water, and other ever-present phenomena. The Beauty of Chemistry took me back to those times.” Alán Aspuru-Guzik, Professor of Chemistry and Computer Science, University of Toronto

More reviews of THE BEAUTY OF CHEMISTRY: Art, Wonder, and Science


Published by MIT Press, May 2021;  Hardcover; over 350 colour illustrations ISBN 0-262-04441-2

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