Construction Philip Ball Made to Measure

ISBN 13: 9780691027333

Made to Measure

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9780691027333: Made to Measure



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.


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"Made to Measure is a lucid account of the most advanced new materials. While it describes today's technology, this book is really about the future. If you like the down-to-the-last-atom designer 'stuff' described within, you'll love the twenty-first century. The future will be built of such stuff."--Richard E. Smalley, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry


"The Materials Era anticipated the principal frontiers in science, technology, and engineering of the second half of the twentieth century. Philip Ball, in Made to Measure, extends these frontiers into the next millennium with skillful foresight. For Ball, the 'measure' of matter implies product design, wherein knowledge of rapidly advancing materials systems is now crucial for progress in commerce and culture. His book qualifies as a reference on the very matter that supports the Information Age."--W. O. Baker, Retired Chairman of the Board, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies


"Philip Ball's Made to Measure is an exceptional survey of state-of-art materials, science, and technology. It is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand where the advances in molecular physics are taking us in the 21st Century."--Professor Sir Harry Kroto, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry


"The awesome cornucopia of modern material science, brimming with deft inventions and molecular marvels, is aptly and ably displayed here. Philip Ball's lucid exposition, augmented by dozens of well-crafted diagrams, celebrates the work of versatile bacterial elves as well as visionary scientists and engineers. Anyone eager to know what's coming, including both venture capitalists and poets, will relish this book."--Dudley Herschbach, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry


About the Author:

Philip Ball is an associate editor for physical sciences with Nature. He contributes regular articles on all fields of science to the academic and popular press, and is the author of Designing the Molecular World (Princeton) and The Self-Made Tapestry (Oxford).

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Philip Ball
Published by Princeton University Press (1997)
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