The Elements by Theodore Gray

I like science, and I really like physics and chemistry, though in a sort of casual way.  I don't know the math behind how gravity affects matter and light, or what ratios of various chemicals are required to make other, cooler explosive chemicals.  There are a lot of good science books out there, but a big problem with a lot of books is pictures: not a lot have them, or at least not in the detail you might want to put things into perspective.

Books about the elements suffer particularly because elements are atoms, and some are incredibly rare.  The Elements solves this problem.  Author Theodore Gray is a bit of an element aficionado, a collector of elements.  He has in his personal collection an example of nearly every element listed in the book, and all of the photographs are from that collection.  A brief description accompanies each item, and the best part, a common use for the element is listed as well.  Oddly, this isn't as common as it should be.

Not really heavy reading, this is a coffee table book, but as science books go, this is a beautiful example.  In fact, the format is so good, there is a follow-up about the solar system.

Edited to add: There is also an iPad app of it, with a few more features.
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