Stuff Matters

Stuff Matters Cover

Stuff Matters

Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World

By Mark Miodownik

Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780544236042, 252pp.

Publication Date: May 27, 2014

Description

A "New York Times" BestsellerAn eye-opening adventure deep inside the everyday materials that surround us, packed with surprising stories and fascinating scienceWhy is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that Mark Miodownik is constantly asking himself. A globally-renowned materials scientist, Miodownik has spent his life exploring 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 entertainingly examines the materials he encounters in a typical morning, from the steel in his razor and the graphite in his pencil to the foam in his sneakers and the concrete in a nearby skyscraper. He offers a compendium of the most astounding histories and marvelous scientific breakthroughs in the material world, including:

  • The imprisoned alchemist who saved himself from execution by creating the first European porcelain.
  • The hidden gem of the Milky Way, a planet five times the size of Earth, made entirely of diamond.
  • Graphene, the thinnest, strongest, stiffest material in existence only a single atom thick that could be used to make entire buildings sensitive to touch.
From the teacup to the jet engine, the silicon chip to the paper clip, the plastic in our appliances to the elastic in our underpants, our lives are overflowing with materials. 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.


About the Author
Mark Miodownik recently appeared in The Times' inaugural list of the 100 most influential scientists in the UK. He is Professor of Materials and Society at UCL and presenter of several BBC television documentaries, including How it Works and The Genius of Invention, as well as appearing as scientist-in-residence on Dara O Briain's Science Club. In 2010, he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. He is Director of the UCL Institute of Making which is home to a materials library containing some of the most wondrous matter on earth, and has collaborated to make interactive events with many museums, such as Tate Modern, the Hayward Gallery and Wellcome Collection.

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