Science and Inquiry discussion

85 views
Book Club 2016 > April 2016 - Stuff Matters

Comments Showing 1-22 of 22 (22 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Betsy, co-mod (new)

Betsy | 1747 comments Mod
For April 2016 we will be reading Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World.

Please use this thread to post questions, comments, and reviews, at any time.


message 2: by Avs (new)

Avs  Sai Babu (avs_sai_babu) Nice talk on some interesting materials

https://www.ted.com/talks/toys_from_t....


message 3: by David (new)

David Rubenstein | 917 comments Mod
I finished the book, and it is fascinating. I highly recommend it. Here is my review.


message 4: by Avs (new)

Avs  Sai Babu (avs_sai_babu) Thats a very good review,thank you for that.
I am so pumped up about graphene. I think it is going to revolutionize the way silicon did it in recent times.


message 5: by Mochajunkie (new)

Mochajunkie | 12 comments I read this last year and found it fascinating: stainless steel, 6 types of chocolate crystals, aerogel, concrete, paper, etc. The molecular level is amazing!


message 6: by Marc (new)

Marc Zimmer | 17 comments I did not finish Stuff Matters. Possibly because I am a chemist and we tend to be more critical of material written in our fields. I never had the urge to pick it up and read more.


message 7: by Ankit (last edited Apr 10, 2016 11:06AM) (new)

Ankit Goyal | 5 comments I have begun with it and i must say the writing has me hooked from the beginning . The best part is how he brings the cultural and human angle into the "stuff" around us ..... e.g. in the very beginning , he provides materials with an almost human quality "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 "


message 8: by Ankit (new)

Ankit Goyal | 5 comments Mark continues to endear himself by animating his materials and making them almost like our living companions . Eg.
"They (currency paper ) are also the most sophisticated pieces of paper that have ever been made, which they need to be because they are a literal, material manifestation of the trust we all have in the whole economic system."

Here, i would like to know everyone's views on the following :

How far is the value of a product ( or material , as here ) embedded in its specifications ? How far does its almost human emotional connect with us contribute to its value to us ?


message 9: by Ankit (new)

Ankit Goyal | 5 comments Great read ! Thoroughly enjoyed !


message 10: by Mochajunkie (new)

Mochajunkie | 12 comments Marc wrote: "I did not finish Stuff Matters. Possibly because I am a chemist and we tend to be more critical of material written in our fields. I never had the urge to pick it up and read more."

Marc, what is it you didn't like?

As I am not a chemist, I found it fascinating. I think books like this are important for people outside the field. Would you say this has a place for laypeople?


message 11: by Elentarri (new)

Elentarri I also didn't finish the book. I got as far as the end of the chapter on paper. I found that there were too many biographical stories and not enough of the actual science (physics and chemistry etc) involved in the functioning and make-up of the materials discussed in the book. If I want to read a biography, I will select a biography. When I pick up a science book, I expect at least 80% of the book to be science, not random anecdotes and fluffy stories. I learned more about iron, concrete and paper in some random history books I read many years ago.

BTW - if someone is looking for more chemistry, may I suggest Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History? Ignore the silly title. This book actually puts in the chemical formulae of the different substances the authors discuss.


message 12: by Elentarri (new)

Elentarri @Mochajunkie

Books like this are important for people outside the field, but I at least would appreciate it if the authors didn't assume all their readers had the mental capacity of an 8 year old, require vast quantities of fluffy filler stories, and have the attention span of a gnat. I would like details... and proper references so I can find more information if that particular topic interests me.


message 13: by Mochajunkie (new)

Mochajunkie | 12 comments Ellentarri, thanks for the other recommendation!


message 14: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Apr 11, 2016 04:05PM) (new)

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 282 comments I also find myself wondering about the stuff I use every day - how it was made, how miraculous it actually is despite it being commonplace. I take it all for granted. (I am a layperson)


message 15: by Ankit (new)

Ankit Goyal | 5 comments Ellentarri , thanks for the rec. Yes the book does dwell on the verge of being too simplistic , but i think the author did actually intend it to be a quick ligjt read , to sort of generate interest among the ininitiated . But yes , i agree with you , a bit more mature approach would have made it even better .


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 282 comments I am enjoying this writer and this book. I like it. Miodownik is sometimes lyrical, which appeals to me.


message 18: by David (new)

David Rubenstein | 917 comments Mod
The author's name is misspelled on the book page. It should be Mlodownik.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 282 comments David wrote: "The author's name is misspelled on the book page. It should be Mlodownik."

: D

Unfortunate name! He must not of suspected what a hash fonts make of the letter L! Or myopic fans!


message 20: by Betsy, co-mod (new)

Betsy | 1747 comments Mod
David wrote: "The author's name is misspelled on the book page. It should be Mlodownik."

Are you sure about that? On the author's website, it's spelled with the i. http://www.markmiodownik.net/


message 21: by David (new)

David Rubenstein | 917 comments Mod
Betsy, you are right. It is Miodownik. I have seen it spelled both ways but I guess that thosr including an L. is in error.


message 22: by Lemar (new)

Lemar | 9 comments Everybody likes to know what's going on. This fussy Brit wants to know what's going on in the material around him right down to the atomic level. His curiosity is in Infectious and his open nature makes this a fun and fascinating read. This is not a book that seeks to thoroughly explain the chemical composition of the materials we use every day, but rather to extend our understanding of these materials so that we can better appreciate the significance in our lives.


back to top