You know that you need oxygen to breathe, that neon can glow and chrome shines? But did you know that your cell phone contains arsenic, your spectacles contain rhodium and that the tin pest is not a disease? And can you name just three researchers whom we have to thank for all these results? Here, Professor Quadbeck-Seeger, a long-serving member of the board at BASF, goes in search of these and other questions. Based on the periodic table, the key reference source for any natural scientist, he explains the criteria that define an element's position in the table and are responsible for its particular characteristics. In a clear and concise manner, he describes for each element the story behind its discovery, its physical and chemical properties as well as its role in our everyday lives. Enriched by a wealth of interesting details, this beautifully designed book in full color represents not only varied reading, but also a treasure trove of surprising facts. Ideally combined with the "Historical Periodic Table" poster, this book is aimed at younger audiences and is thus particularly suitable for schools, lectures and other courses.