Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World

Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World

‘STUFF MATTERS: EXPLORING MARVELOUS MATERIALS THAT SHAPE OUR MAN MADE WORLD’


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OPENING LINE:

A famous singer once proclaimed that we are living in a material world. She may have never made a more accurate statement.


PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY:

Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? 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. 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.
©2014 Mark Miodownik (P)2014 Tantor


THE PLOT:

When we put a spoonful of food in our mouth, why can’t we taste the spoon? What is it that makes chocolate taste so good? What is the deal with paper, steel and concrete? All of these questions and several more are addressed in ‘Stuff Matters’ by Mark Miodownik.
Mark Miodownik is very interested in stuff. He is interested in anything that constitutes the physical world we live in from the clothes we wear to the food we eat and the materials that we use for construction. It is out of that interest that ‘Stuff Matters’ was born.
Miodownik takes a look at ten types of material from concrete to chocolate, steel to paper, and even our own bodies. In each section, Miodownik looks at what gives each material its physical characteristics that allow it to be used in the many ways we use them, a history of that material in human development and often a look at where things might be heading in the future.
This book is not just a telling of atomic composition and molecular structure, it also contains a lot of personal experience and commentary.
I am a naturally curious person and I am always interested in learning how something, practically anything, works. This book was quite fascinating and gave me a lot of information that I did not already know. Also, the chapter on chocolate made me incredibly hungry.


THE AUTHOR:

Mark Miodownik is an engineer and a materials scientist. Miodownik obviously has an affection for his subject matter, which is a good thing considering that it’s his job. Miodownik is also someone who has had his share of unfortunate accidents and physical injuries, as are outlined in Chapter 10 of the book which discusses the human body and its ability to self-heal. I would definitely read a follow-up volume because there is obviously a lot more that Miodownik could cover.


THE NARRATION:

You wouldn’t think that a book about “stuff” would allow for a great number of acting moments. However, one chapter a screenplay to discuss the history of solenoids, and this gives narrator Michael Page a chance to show what he’s got. He does a good job throughout the entire body of the text and his British accent is sure to please a lot of listeners.


THE PRODUCTION:

You know what you’re going to get with a Tantor Audio track. There are no sound effects to be found, and there is a complete absence of musical cues. There are 12 chapter stops for each of the book’s 11 chapters plus the introduction. The recording stays at a constant level throughout, and there are no noticeable glitches.


FINAL THOUGHTS:

‘Stuff Matters’ is a fascinating and entertaining look at the things around us. The things we use, see, wear and eat every day but never spend much time considering. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a general curiosity about the world we live in and the things that allow us to live the way we do.


QUICK FACTS:

Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World Mark Miodownik Michael Page Tantor Audio Science & Technology 07/29/2014 6 hours, 34 minutes 7.75/10

DISCLAIMER:

A copy of ‘STUFF MATTERS: EXPLORING MARVELOUS MATERIALS THAT SHAPE OUR MAN MADE WORLD’ was purchased from Audible for review.

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