Visionary eBook for Apple iPad Launched by Touch Press

Champaign, IL, London, England and New York, NY — Touch Press, in cooperation with Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers and Wolfram Alpha LLC, today announced the release of a groundbreaking and visually arresting new ebook, available in the Apple App Store simultaneously with the release of the Apple iPad.

The Elements: A Visual Exploration, by Theodore Gray, lets iPad users experience the beauty and fascination of the fundamental building blocks of our universe in a dramatically new and unique way. As the first complete and truly innovative ebook developed from the ground up for iPad, The Elements beautifully shows off the capabilities of Apple’s remarkable device and delivers on its promise as a breakthrough publishing platform.

The Elements is the closest thing you’re going to find to a magic book: if Harry Potter checked out a book about the periodic table from the Hogwarts library, this would be it.

Stephen Fry, one of the first independent reviewers to experience The Elements, tweets: “Best App of all Theodore Gray Wolfram Periodic Table. Everything is animated and gorgeous. Alone worth iPad.” Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing blogs “It’s dazzling—it makes science feel like magic in your hands.”

The book starts as a living periodic table where every element is represented by a smoothly rotating sample. To read about tin, tap on the tin soldier. To read about gold, tap on the gold nugget. Immediately users see a sample of the element filling most of the large screen, photographed to razor sharpness and rotating through 360 degrees before your eyes. Tapping on the Wolfram|Alpha button for gold reveals up-to-the-minute market pricing, along with a hundred other useful facts about that precious metal.

But it’s when users go to each element’s second page that the real magic starts. Beautifully photographed objects and samples representing the element fall into place, rotating a fraction of a turn as they settle to form a carefully composed page. Every item, well over 500 in total, is a freely rotatable, live object that can be examined from all sides.

One, two, three, or ten fingers can be used to independently spin multiple objects at once. Each object responds effortlessly to your touch, and objects can be “thrown” to set them spinning. Some pages even include live video clips of experiments demonstrating interesting properties of the elements.

A double-tap on any object brings it up full screen. Tap again and the image splits into a pair of stereo 3D images. Using inexpensive 3D glasses users can see all 500 objects pop out off the screen and spin, still in full 3D, at the touch of a finger. You can’t get more virtually real than that.

The Elements pushes the iPad to its absolute performance limits, with the live rotations exercising the graphics subsystem to its full capacity, and the razor-sharp photography showing off the remarkable quality of the Multi-Touch screen. Gray’s long working relationship with Apple has allowed an unprecedented level of refinement to be achieved by John Cromie, lead software engineer, in the very short time available for development of the ebook since the January 2010 announcement of the iPad.

But The Elements is much more than a gee-whiz technology showcase. It is also simply a good book. The hardcover edition, released in September 2009, now has over 100,000 copies in print, a phenomenal number for a coffee-table photo book about science. The book has found an avid readership among people who never thought they were interested in science, until they saw those gleaming elements on the cover.

“We expect The Elements to be the flagship of a new generation of ebooks that take full advantage of what a modern ebook reader can deliver”, said Theodore Gray of Touch Press, “The Elements in ebook form simply wasn’t possible until iPad came along. With this new platform now available, and with The Elements setting the bar very high, we face the exciting prospect of applying our skills to a wide range of new titles.”

TOUCH PRESS is a new digital publishing company led by:

Theodore Gray, co-founder of Wolfram Research, Inc., creator of the Mathematica Notebook interface, and a columnist for Popular Science magazine since 2003. His most recent books, Theo Gray’s Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do at Home—But Probably Shouldn’t and The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe, were published in 2009 to wide acclaim.

Max Whitby is a multiple-BAFTA-award-winning former BBC producer. He brings to the team decades of experience in film and television production and in the design and delivery of interactive media. His science company RGB Research Ltd is based in London.

Stephen Wolfram is a renowned scientist, founder and CEO of Wolfram Research, Inc., and creator of both Mathematica and the Wolfram|Alpha computational knowledge engine.

The company is developing a series of electronic titles in science, technology, popular culture, and the arts.

Partners include Wolfram Alpha LLC and Wolfram Research, Inc.. Wolfram Alpha LLC is the creator of the Wolfram|Alpha computational knowledge engine. Its parent company, Wolfram Research, is a software company founded in 1987 that is the creator and developer of Mathematica.

Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers is an independent publisher primarily of illustrated books that also impart a tremendous amount of useful and interesting information. BD&L achieves wide distribution for its authors through a close partnership with the Workman Publishing Company.

Updated 04-03-2010

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