The Restless Heart of Matter and Life
By Mark Haw
(Palgrave Macmillan, Hardcover, 9781403986030, 256pp.)
Publication Date: November 28, 2006
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Between the microscopic world of quarks and atoms, and the macroscopic one of pebbles, planets, and galaxies there is another world, strangely neglected by science since Isaac Newton. It is inhabited by pollen, DNA and viruses, not to mention globules of paint, shampoo, milk and chocolate. Smaller than molecules but bigger than atoms, its tiny denizens have one thing in common: they cannot keep still. Physicist Mark Haw tells the story of the discovery of this restless middle world 200 years ago; how it was ignored for so long, and how it spectacularly answered Einstein's most basic question about the nature of matter in the twentieth century. Despite this, science ignored it again until very recently. Haw reveals that today, understanding the weird, jiggling "mesoscale" has become central to nanotechnology, medicine and working out the origins of life.
Mark Haw is a materials scientist at the University of Nottingham, UK, having spent a decade researching Brownian motion at the University of Edinburgh and the Ecole des Mines in France. Mark has written physics and chemistry features for Nature and Physics World, published numerous short stories and penned three novels.
"A delightful story of an overlooked and underappreciated science and the scientists who made it. The writing never falters." --Mark Buchanan, author of Nexus "Haw's excellent descriptions ensure that concepts normally encountered only at degree level are just part of a riveting story." --Chemistry World "An accessible and racy account -- there is something for everyone in this highly enjoyable little book." --Nature "Fast-paced, witty - with vignettes of the great minds who flung science into the modern era." --American Scientist