Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World Illustrated Edition, Kindle Edition
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From the Back Cover
Winner of the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books
Miodownik, a materials scientist, explains the history and science behind things such as paper, glass, chocolate, and concrete with an infectious enthusiasm. Scientific American
Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that renowned materials scientist Mark Miodownik constantly asks himself. Miodownik studies objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world. In Stuff Matters, Miodownik explores the materials he encounters in a typical morning, from the steel in his razor to the foam in his sneakers. Full of enthralling tales of the miracles of engineering that permeate our lives, Stuff Matters will make you see stuff in a whole new way.
Stuff Matters is about hidden wonders, the astonishing properties of materials we think boring, banal, and unworthy of attention . . . It s possible this science and these stories have been told elsewhere, but like the best chocolatiers, Miodownik gets the blend right. New York Times Book Review
Mark Miodownik is a professor of materials and society at University College London. He is the director of the Institute of Making, which is home to a materials library containing some of the most wondrous matter on earth. He lives in London." --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B00E78IFV2
- Publisher : Mariner Books; Illustrated edition (May 27, 2014)
- Publication date : May 27, 2014
- Language: : English
- File size : 34836 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 277 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #75,688 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Nonetheless, can you imagine a life without them? – sleeping on hay or a lump of leaves; cooking with sharp rocks; eating with our own hands; living in a cave; and writing memo by engraving on a stone tablet in the absence of paper. This kind of life style is akin to that of our ancestors back in the Stone Age, approximately 1-2 million years ago. And that is precisely correct. Our lives without what we take for granted will be exactly like it. Many things around us, which we are absentmindedly taking for granted on a daily basis as I showed you, are the tangible results of the apotheosis of technology and science in the span of the entire human history. Our history, since the emergence of Homo sapiens, is inseparable to the history of materials. Indeed, the biggest milestones and that which separates distinct epochs in history, undoubtedly, are from the names of materials to have been utilized at each as shows in the three age system - Stone, Bronze, and Iron. They behaved differently, also, depending on what materials they were using at each time, as though their history was dictated by the very own material that they discovered and invented. The essence of which ought to have given you an aha moment.
The author has pointed this out in the first chapter which made me awe-struck. Whether or not you are a science geek, (Although, I don't consider myself a geek. But I have been on a science book reading streak of late. Maybe I am?) you will enjoy this book. This book is not very rarefied at all, written for common people, so much so that the author came up with a brilliant way to easily explain on the evolution of plastic, that is, by writing a screenplay, the main story of which evolves around the protagonist who invents plastic material. Not only is it fun to read, but also it is your responsibility as a modern person to know how the materials that shroud us came about. Only after you learn the struggle and inconvenience through which those who passed before us went without what we have now, are we called up to a true veneration for the things that sustain our modern life style.
That is, before stainless steel was invented, people tasted metal in their food from cutlery. Before the invention of amalgam which is the mixture of various metals, the dentists waited out a tooth to go completely rot only to pull out the tooth. Without plastic film, no way could it be possible that cameras were widely distributed and enjoyed by many in the early 20th century. There exist countless examples of such in the book. Don’t miss out the chapters on metal and chocolate which were my favorite.
The writing is highly entertaining, making me laugh and exclaim and wonder, but it is also highly educational, and it strikes a perfect balance (at least to my taste) , giving me excellent science without going into so much excruciating detail that my eyes glazed over.
I listened to the Audible version as I read the Kindle edition. The narrator has a British accent, which I sometimes find a little hard to understand, but he was very intelligible and did an excellent job of narrating; I felt the author was talking to me.
Things I liked about the book:
1. The writing style is very informal and easy to understand. You can tell that the author poured his heart and life experience into this book. The writing style also changes from different chapters, and author tries to introduce the material to the readers from the perspective of a normal person and not a material scientist.
2. You don't need to have a science background to understand any of this. There are technical explanations in this book but they are not very technical and are easy to understand.
3. You can pick up and read any chapter in any order.
Thing you should be aware of before buying:
1. This book is to pique the curiosity but not satisfy it. This is not a material science 101 book. The technical aspects of the materials covered are not deep enough for a more technical person. However, if you like something more technical then I would definitely recommend Eight Amazing Engineering Stories . This book is more technical (but not university level technical) and written in a similar approach to this book (each chapter covers one particular element)
Top reviews from other countries
Great knowledge of chemistry is not required.
This motivated me to revise for chemistry more, if you are a student, you will understand why after reading this book!
I don't like this book because it doesn't go into depth on any topic, but jumps between topics really quickly. For example, it's never explained how quantum effects affect steel alloys, or how is liquid turned to gas in an aerogel without evaporation. The author clearly knows the science, but only talks about it briefly before moving on to historical or social commentary. The book intends to draw attention to materials that we typically find mundane, but in the end, I feel like I only learned various bits of trivia about different materials, and didn't gain much understanding of material science.