The Nature of Matter: Understanding the Physical World

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor David W. Ball
  • 12 hrs and 4 mins
  • Lecture

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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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- karstek "karstek"

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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- Matthew

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-01-2015
  • Publisher: The Great Courses