The BookBrowse Review

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The BookBrowse Review

Published May 21, 2014

ISSN: 1930-0018

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Contents

In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

Highlighting indicates debut books

Editor's Introduction
Reviews
Hardcovers Paperbacks
First Impressions
Recommended for Book Clubs
Publishing Soon

Novels


Historical Fiction


Short Stories/Essays


Mysteries


Thrillers


Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Alternate History


Biographies/Memoirs


History, Science & Current Affairs


Young Adults

Novels


Romance


Extras
  • Blog:
    Give Your Old Books A New Lease on Life
  • Notable:
    @RailBookClub
  • Wordplay:
    O H Die H
  • Quote:
    A library is thought in cold storage
Book Jacket

Stuff Matters
Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World
by Mark Miodownik
27 May 2014
272 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-13: 9780544236042
Critics:
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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.

"Starred Review. Miodownik's infectious curiosity and explanatory gifts will inspire readers to take a closer look at the materials around them." - Publishers Weekly

"Why we are so taken with porcelain and why a newspaper rustles are not mysteries to Miodownik, who helps us understand the complexity of inner structures.Puts the wonder and strangeness back into all the truly magical stuff that comprises our everyday reality." - Kirkus

"Miodownik achieves precisely what he sets out to, which is to make the case that the materials we have made are as extraordinary, and as revealing of us, as the materials we are made of." - The Times (UK)

"Makes even the most everyday seem thrilling" - The Sunday Times (UK)

"A deftly written, immensely enjoyable little book." - Observer (UK)

"Miodownik tells a good story...Enthralling." - The Guardian (UK)

"[A] wonderful account of the materials that have made the modern world…Miodownik writes well enough to make even concrete sparkle." - Financial Times

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, scientist-in- residence on Dara O Briain's Science Club (BBC2) and presenter of several documentaries, including The Genius of Invention (BBC2). In 2010, he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, broadcast on BBC4. 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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