What do you think?
Rate this book
272 pages, Hardcover
First published June 6, 2013
However, it is unlikely that ebooks will completely supplant books while it lacks paper’s distinctive smell, feel, and sound, since it is this multisensual physicality of reading that is one of its great attractions. "People love books, more perhaps than they love the written word. They use them as a way to define who they are and to provide physical evidence of their values. Books on shelves and on tables are a kind of internal marketing exercise, reminding us who we are and who we want to be. We are physical beings so it perhaps makes sense for us to identify and express our values using physical objects, which we like to touch and smell as well as read.
"We inhabit an immaterial world, too: the world of our minds, our emotions, and our perceptions. But the material world, although separate, is not entirely divorced from these worlds—it strongly influences them, as anyone knows."
"Along the way, we find that, as with people, the real differences between materials are deep below the surface, a world that is shut off from most unless they have access to sophisticated scientific equipment."
"But there is also a scientific discipline especially dedicated to systematically investigating our sensual interactions with materials. This discipline, called psychophysics, has made some very interesting discoveries."
"It reflects back to us our feeling of modernity, of being clinical, and of having conquered grime, and the dirt and messiness of life. Of being indomitable ourselves."
The yellowing and disintegration of paper are disturbing, and yet, like all antiques, paper gains an authenticity and power from its patina of age. The sensual impressions of old paper allow you to enter the past much more readily, providing a portal to that world."
"Without plastics, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid—and all other movies —would never have existed; neither would the cinema matinee, nor the cinema itself, and our visual culture would be very different indeed. So although I am no fan of excessive plastic packaging, I hopeI’ve shown that, if there is one place a plastic candy wrapper should feel safe and appreciated, it is to be a movie theatre."
"Vinyl changed music, how we recorded it and how we listened to it, and along the way it created rock stars"
"Whether it was the lack of these two crucial optical instruments ( microscope and telescope) that prevented the Chinese from capitalizing on their technological superiority and instigating a scientific revolution, as happened in the West in the seventeenth century, is impossible to say."
One of the most fundamental of these material structures is the atom, but it is not the only structure of importance. At the larger scales there are dislocations, crystals, fibers, scaffolds, gels, and foams, to name a few that have been featured in this book. Taken in isolation, these structures are like characters in a story, each contributing something to its overall shape. Sometimes one character dominates, but it is only when they are put back together that they explain fully why materials behave the way they do.