Most of metallurgy started with extraction, which materials scientists of today seem to have forgotten. Most books and extraction labs today are collecting dust. I came across a nice book with funny anectodes and funnier illustrations dealing with stories on discovery of various metals in Prof Vikram Jayaram’s bookshelf, by S Venetsky published by the once famed MIR Publishers, Moscow. Its a series of two books on ‘Tales About Metals’, the first one of which was invisible. It shows how amateurs and mineral hobbyists contributed to some of the accidental discoveries of ‘rare’ metals. There is a small story about how Bengal priests used a strontium salt to produce red light in order to ‘terrorize’ worshippers much before anyone ever gave it its name. It goes on to describe how Sr went ahead of its pyrotechnical skills in firework displays to being an indispensable part of high efficiency nuclear batteries used in the most inaccessible meterological stations and under water submarines. See if you can lay your hands on this rare book ‘on rare and scattered metals’.