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Made to Measure New Materials for the 21st Century by Philip Ball

Made to Measure New Materials for the 21st Century


Made to Measure New Materials for the 21st Century by Philip Ball

Made to Measure introduces a general audience to one of today's most exciting areas of scientific research: materials science. Philip Ball describes how scientists are currently inventing thousands of new materials, ranging from synthetic skin, blood, and bone to substances that repair themselves and adapt to their environment, that swell and flex like muscles, that repel any ink or paint, and that capture and store the energy of the Sun. He shows how all this is being accomplished precisely because, for the first time in history, materials are being made to measure : designed for particular applications, rather than discovered in nature or by haphazard experimentation. Now scientists literally put new materials together on the drawing board in the same way that a blueprint is specified for a house or an electronic circuit. But the designers are working not with skylights and alcoves, not with transistors and capacitors, but with molecules and atoms. This book is written in the same engaging manner as Ball's popular book on chemistry, Designing the Molecular World, and it links insights from chemistry, biology, and physics with those from engineering as it outlines the various areas in which new materials will transform our lives in the twenty-first century. The chapters provide vignettes from a broad range of selected areas of materials science and can be read as separate essays. The subjects include photonic materials, materials for information storage, smart materials, biomaterials, biomedical materials, materials for clean energy, porous materials, diamond and hard materials, new polymers, and surfaces and interfaces.


One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1998 Let me state up front that Made to Measure ... is an outstanding book. Written for the general reader, it will also greatly appeal to specialists. If you are a solid-state physicist, chemist, materials scientist, engineer, science policy maker, or keen amateur scientist, then sell your shirt to buy it. --Colin Humphreys, New Scientist Philip Ball offers a panorama of 1,001 new materials for the next century... His survey would make a good textbook for an introductory course in materials science. For the rest of us, the sheer range of examples is impressive. --Jon Turney, Financial Times Philip Ball writes about the very modern science of materials... [He] is full of fascinating insights, and especially on the photonic side of things he really opens the reader's eyes... [His] book is the first to be entirely devoted to this field. That task has been very well accomplished, and the book is warmly recommended. --Robert W. Cahn, European Journal of Physics

About the Author

Formerly on the staff of Nature, Philip Ball is now a full-time writer. He lives in London.

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Book Info

Publication date

13th September 1999


Philip Ball

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Princeton University Press


472 pages


Science: general issues
Materials science
Cultural studies



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