Uranium occurs naturally in the Earth's crust, yet it holds the power to end all life on the planet. This is its fundamental paradox and its story, told here, is a fascinating window into the valour, greed, genius and folly of humanity. A problem for miners in the Middle Ages, an inspiration to novelists, a boon to medicine, a devastating weapon at the end of WWII, a polluter, an excuse for war with Iraq and a possible last defense against global warming, Uranium is the most powerful element on earth and one which will shape the future, for better or worse.
Tom Zoellner has worked as a contributing editor for Men's Health magazine and as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. His book The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds and Desire will be published in the summer of 2006.