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Publisher's Summary

Matter is the raw material of the universe. Discover how the immense variety of matter - stars, mountains, plants, people - is generated by a limited number of chemical elements that combine in simple, well-defined ways. Consider carbon, a relatively common atom with many faces: diamond, which is the hardest known mineral; graphite, which is among the softest known substances; and carbon nanotubes, which are 300 times stronger than steel and have remarkable electrical properties.
In the 24 engaging lectures of The Nature of Matter, no scientific background is needed to appreciate such miracles of everyday life as a bouncing rubber ball or water's astonishing power to dissolve. Moreover, the study of matter has led directly to such inventions as semiconductor circuits for computers, new fabrics for clothes, and powerful adhesives for medicine and industry. These discoveries were hard won by scientific sleuths, but we can all sit back and enjoy the details - just as we delight in the solution to a good detective story. Since prehistoric times, knowledge of materials has driven the development of civilization. The Stone Age was succeeded by the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Age, and now the age of silicon - the element that is the basis of the semiconductor revolution.
Where will new methods and materials take us next? Professor Ball notes that the "fun part about being a chemist is that we still have lots of combinations of these raw materials to explore". Join this outstanding teacher and researcher on this exciting journey of discovery into the substance of everyday life.
©2015 The Great Courses (P)2015 The Teaching Company, LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Matthew on 09-06-16

95% Chemistry, 5% Physics

Given the title, I expected this books to discuss matter in terms of particle physics, but this is basically a chemistry book. Granted, a discussion of chemistry is warranted when discussing the nature of matter, but I had expected much much less. The book wasn'd bad per se, just not what I expected given the title.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful


By karstek on 11-03-15

High School or Lower Level

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you never had ANY science class at all, this book is for you. If you know what an atom is, have heard of the concept of chemistry, or received higher education than a GED, its profoundly redundant. Way too elementary to be deemed college level.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something that IS education and not an 8th grade refresher lecture.

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28 of 35 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Sheldor the Conqueror on 08-16-17

Excellent entry into the world of physics

A great introduction that left me wanting more. Fortunately, there are dozens of additional courses. Recommended.

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By Phil Allen on 06-21-17

Give Yourself a Materials Science Refresher

If you are science student or just a person with an interest in "techy" things then you will like this. Its very informative, sometimes in a "broad brush" and sometimes with little details you'd need in an exam. And I really enjoyed the book!

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