Stuff Matters

Stuff Matters

Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-made World

Book - 2014 | First U.S. edition.
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A New York Times Bestseller

An eye-opening adventure deep inside the everyday materials that surround us, packed with surprising stories and fascinating science

Why 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.
Publisher: Boston :, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,, 2014.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9780544236042
Characteristics: xviii, 252 pages : illustrations


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Mar 11, 2018

A short book that will transform the way you look at things, objects and the world itself. All is made of atoms and by the laws of physics; if you comprehend and understand this you will eventually see that our world (and humans as well) are maleable.

The author does a great job to avoid technical jargon and his style makes this scientific subject enjoyable and better to comprehend.

Feb 21, 2016

This was a very interesting read

Dec 06, 2014

This author is brilliant, which reminds me that University College London appears to have an almost monopoly on such types, would rate it well above Oxford and American Ivy League institutions based upon their faculty - - absolutely brilliant, each and every one! Really a tremendous book for the lay person on the wonders of our world relating to materials science.

BCD2013 Jun 12, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
Beginning with a photo of himself drinking a cup of tea on a London rooftop, Miodownik (who is the director of the wonderfully named “Institute of Making” at University College London) proceeds to examine ten objects in the photo and, with humor and insight, tell us why we should care about the physical properties of steel, concrete, chocolate (which by the way, he considers to be “one of our greatest engineering creations”), glass and several other materials. Miodownik is a gifted storyteller who makes complex science sound as fascinating as it actually is.
- Wayne Roylance

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