Uranium

At a recent meeting of the Highgate Library Action Group committee a suggestion was made. Why not post about books at the library that we have read and liked? I think that’s a great idea. So, here are some remarks about a book I found in the Highgage Library children’s section. -MOC
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Review for Highgate Library Action Group, written by Michael O’Callaghan.

Uranium and other radioactive elements By Brian Knapp. Atlantic Publishing.

I was brought up on children’s science books. I devoured them after my mother introduced me to the local library. They gave me the love of science that I still have today.

I found Uranium in the children’s section of Highgate Library (the book you understand, not the metal). It reminded me that children’s science books are a wonderful way to learn science. Adult books sometimes skate around the subject trying to avoid frightening the grown ups with too much fact. What was Steven Hawking told about A Brief History of Time ? Each equation halves the sales.

Uranium is beautifully presented and jam-cram full of pictures and facts. Excellent. No skating here. I thought I knew something about radiation but I was amazed at what I learnt. Our own bodies produce 17% of the radiation we encounter. What !? Uranium is more common in the ground than silver. The periodic table, (for my money one of the greatest inventions of human culture, but then, who asked me?) was invented by a school teacher looking for a classroom explanation of the elements.

I showed the book to Tara , aged 8. She is now able to tell anyone who asks that alpha radiation can be stopped by your hand, but a neutron beam can go through a lead plate. I asked her what age group would like it. She thought it would best for the 9 – 12 age range. I agree, though I would extend the top end of the range to 112.

Maybe some child will pick up Uranium at Highgate Library and fall in love with science like I did.

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About s1bc

Chairman of library support group and chief blogger. Active library user since childhood and beyond. Book devourer. Grandparent and pensioner. Fighter for libraries.
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