Originally known as an early “wow-worthy” iPad app, Touch Press’s The Elements ($29) is now available in a Mac edition. The price is high, but you’re paying for gorgeously designed educational software that makes the periodic table come to life. From actinium to zirconium, the app features a whole lot more than a simple list and numbers.
Instead, you get beautiful photographic images, many of which show the element in a state you might recognize. Iron isn’t just a hunk of metal, for example, it’s a horseshoe, complete with rotation and Retina MacBook Pro levels of detail. There are also fascinating stories about each element, access to Wolfram|Alpha data, and even 3-D images that pop off the screen using standard 3-D glasses. New live videos and demonstrations have been added to improve the value equation. Whether you’re a student, a teacher, or just curious, you’ll find The Elements to be cooler than most science apps you’ve seen before.