Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "What things are made of" for the layman., May 7, 2014
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This review is from: Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World (Hardcover)
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I'm a humanities/language/literature kind of person. I had to buy a 4-volume set of books called HOW THINGS WORK back in the day when my kids were growing up so that when they asked me "Why?" I'd either look it up or, when they were bigger, tell them to go look it up (or "ask your father").

Now my kids are on their own but I'm still the unscientific self of yesteryear. So any help I can get with understanding the science of things is appreciated. This book by Miodownik isn't especially about *how* things work but rather about what materials are made of and how they're created and what their inner structure is.

It's a short bit of "materials science", a discipline which, according to Miodownik, is thousands of years old. He tells us that his book is "an attempt to show that materials around us are...complex expressions of human needs and desires." "To satisfy our need for things like shelter and clothes, our desire for chocolate and the cinema...we have had to ...master the complexity of [the] inner structure" of these materials.

The book is divided into 11 chapters, the first 10 each dealing with a different category of materials: steel and metals; paper; concrete; chocolate; foam plastics and celluloid; glass and quartz; graphite, diamonds, graphene and buckyballs; porcelain and ceramics; implants and titanium and synthetic bone grafts, even 3D printer use in artificial jawbones. Well, you know that a 226-page book full of all this information that even includes buckyballs can't be in extreme detail so it's the kind of book for me.

It's short and enjoyable. Probably it could have included more striking illustrations and photographs to add a bit more interest, maybe even a tad of color to please the eyes, but it's written in an interesting, entertaining manner.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

OLT
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

Location: Florida USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 323