Isaac Asimov's inquiry into the age-old research for the components of the Universe is a worthy addition to the distinguished titles in the Science and Discovery series. Thales of Miletus began the quest in ancient Greece when he decided that four elements- earth, water, air and fire- made up the Universe. With the decline of magic, alchemy and cs gave way to the scientific revolution and the discoveries of Galileo and Robert Boyle. During the "age of phlogiston", important information came to the fore phosphorous, , nicked and platinum came into use. And with Cavendish's work, new gases were discovered and named. Lavoister is considered the father of chemistry however. His list of 33 elements was later refined as electricity was put to work in the field. Carrying the story through modern times, as the atom is split and man made elements created, Dr. Asimov recaptures the drama of science as well as specific contributions in the field of chemistry.