Soft Matter
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Soft Matter : The Stuff That Dreams are Made of

3.5 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Roberto Piazza says: 'Physics should be made simple enough to be amusing, but not so trivial as to spoil the fun'. This is exactly the approach of this book in making the science of 'soft matter' relevant to everyday life - things such as the food we eat, the plastic we use, the concrete we build with, the cells we are made of.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 280 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 20.32mm | 272.15g
  • Springer
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 2011 ed.
  • 26 black & white illustrations, 35 colour illustrations, 3 black & white tables, biography
  • 9400705840
  • 9789400705845
  • 783,605

Review quote

From the reviews: "Roberto Piazza provides one of the first books that aim to introduce the topic to the general reader. It is well written, with a playful Italian style, featuring cultured digressions and interesting footnotes. ... audience for this enjoyable book will be the famous 'general reader', most likely in actuality to be the interested specialist, working in this or closely related fields. ... It could be used as an introductory textbook ... . Overall, this book is very informative and written with considerable flair and enthusiasm." (Ian Hamley, Chemistry World, June, 2011) "Soft Matter offers excellent general reading for anyone interested in colloid and surfactant science or biopolymers. Piazza (condensed matter physics, Politecnico di Milano, Italy) introduces these scientific areas and relevant concepts and ideas by incorporating numerous examples from 'everyday life.' ... the book provides more-detailed explanations for the scientific terms used in the text. Overall, an interesting, clearly written, lighthearted approach to an important research field in physics. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels." (H. Giesche, Choice, Vol. 49 (1), September, 2011) "The book strikes the right balance between historical context and scientific content, and it should appeal to PHYSICS TODAY readers. ... The book's glossary alone is a valuable resource that many students entering the field will likely turn to while taking courses and after incomprehensible seminar. I am certainly going to make this excellent book part of the required reading for all students taking my introductory class on the subject." (Daniel Blair, Physics Today, December, 2011) "Roberto Piazza wrote a beautiful book on soft matter. ... The overall style of the book is very clear, peppered with interesting anecdotes, historical vignettes ... which make its reading a delight. ... Piazza's book is excellent, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to an interested lay audience as well as to physics students, or natural scientists in general, who are about to embark on a more detailed course on soft matter and biophysics. ... a fascinating read even for a working scientist ... ." (R. Podgornik, Journal of Biological Physics, March, 2012) "While I was familiar with some of the more common concepts, the author really provided some very good original explanations. In contrast to some other popular science books which simply tell you the conclusions, this books actually explains enough that I felt like I understood where in general the conclusions came from. I liked the way the author could capture key concepts in succinct and memorable phrases." (Amazon, March, 2012)show more

About Roberto Piazza

Roberto Piazza trained as a physicist at the school of Vittorio Degiorgio, and is now a professor of Condensed Matter Physics at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Associate Editor of the European Physical Journal E and coordinator of the European Space Agency's Topical Team for "Applications of colloids in microgravity" of the European Space Agency. He has made important contributions to research on nanoparticle suspensions, polymer and surfactant solutions and biological macromolecules. He is not only a gifted physicists, but equally well versed in history and literature.show more

Back cover copy

'Soft matter may, as Roberto Piazza puts it, be the stuff of dreams, but it is also the stuff of life. That is what makes this book so engaging - because it shows the ingenuity that both nature and humankind have invested in the bendy, stretchy, fragile, tough and adaptable substances we find all around us. There is plenty of hard science in this soft matter, and Piazza offers an urbane and eloquent tour through it.' Philip Ball, multi-award winning science writer. This book takes you for a leisurely walk through the 'middle earth' that scientists call soft matter -- much smaller than what we observe with the naked eye, but not as remote as the esoteric realm of molecules, atoms and fundamental particles. From toys to trainers, our civilization would be very different if we did not have plastic. From milk to paint, what would we do without colloids? We ourselves fall into the category of soft matter, made as we are of a molecular origami of proteins, DNA and other biological compounds. This fascinating exploration reveals what these materials have in common and which aspects of their behavior make them useful in our everyday life. Understanding more about their physical properties will make you marvel at the 'soft' things that surround us. With a Foreword by Professor Henk Lekkerkerker, Utrecht University, the Netherlands Roberto Piazza trained as a physicist at the school of Vittorio Degiorgio, and is now a professor of Condensed Matter Physics at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Associate Editor of the European Physical Journal E and coordinator of the European Space Agency's Topical Team for "Applications of colloids in microgravity" of the European Space Agency. He has made important contributions to research on nanoparticle suspensions, polymer and surfactant solutions and biological macromolecules. He is not only a gifted physicists, but equally well versed in history and literature.show more

Table of contents

Foreword Preface to the English edition 1 Overture: a special day 2 A life in suspense 2.1 A big cast of little characters 2.2 When it pays to be superficial 2.3 Colloidal Waterage, an award-winning firm 2.4 Rock and roll in suspense 2.5 Osmosis, the breath of a dispersed world 2.6 Colloidal Lego, matter made to measure 2.7 Softness without limit: fractal aggregates 2.8 Concrete: united by charge 2.9 Particles spreading waves: colloidal light and colors 2.10 A very particular particulate ink 2.11 Flying colloids: deceptive beauty of the aerosols 3 Freedom in chains 3.1 Long and disordered queues 3.2 A tale of cross-links and double-crosses 3.3 Necklaces for all tastes 3.4 Plastics: false solids with a biddable disposition 3.5 Snake dance 3.6 Entropy: disorder or freedom? 3.7 Elastic by chance 3.8 The secret of Mister Fantastic 3.9 Panta rei 3.10 Nightmares for Indiana Jones 3.11 Charged polymers: polyelectrolytes 4 Double-faced Janus molecules 4.1 Striding on water: the physics of Jesus bugs 4.2 Surfactants, a split personality 4.3 Soap bubbles: a paradise for kids and math nerds 4.4 Micelles, when surfactants find peace 4.5 As white as can be: the science of cleaning 4.6 A large and varied family 4.7 Questions of shape 4.8 A mischievous break: watch the label! 4.9 Small but mighty emulsions 4.10 Black gold 5 Nanoarchitecture 5.1 Kepler, Bernal, and your greengrocer 5.2 Colloidal crystals: ordered by entropy 5.3 Glasses and gels, when hate and love yield similar results 5.4 The world is not (just) a ball 5.5 Sand castles and shifting sands 6 Dreamtime 6.1 Concludo, ergo sum 6.2 Proteins, a matter of molecular origami 6.3 Little chemists 6.4 Truck drivers and intelligence 6.5 Freemen of Flatland 6.6 Yard workers 6.7 Body builders 6.8 A (protein-rich) lunch break 6.9 Artificial respiration 6.10 The Chieftain and his Shaman 6.10.1 The secret of simplicity 6.10.2 Message in a bottle 6.10.3 Double helices and strategies to pull them apart 6.10.4 The great contortionist 6.10.5 The queen bee and her workers 6.10.6 From Gladstone Gander to Donald Duck 6.10.7 The factory of dreams 6.10.8 Inner secrets of the Chieftain 6.10.9 Time dust or stardust? 6.11 Back to the future Weird words: soft matter from A to Z Index of common things (or almost so)show more

Review Text

From the reviews: "Roberto Piazza provides one of the first books that aim to introduce the topic to the general reader. It is well written, with a playful Italian style, featuring cultured digressions and interesting footnotes. ... audience for this enjoyable book will be the famous 'general reader', most likely in actuality to be the interested specialist, working in this or closely related fields. ... It could be used as an introductory textbook ... . Overall, this book is very informative and written with considerable flair and enthusiasm." (Ian Hamley, Chemistry World, June, 2011) "Soft Matter offers excellent general reading for anyone interested in colloid and surfactant science or biopolymers. Piazza (condensed matter physics, Politecnico di Milano, Italy) introduces these scientific areas and relevant concepts and ideas by incorporating numerous examples from 'everyday life.' ... the book provides more-detailed explanations for the scientific terms used in the text. Overall, an interesting, clearly written, lighthearted approach to an important research field in physics. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels." (H. Giesche, Choice, Vol. 49 (1), September, 2011) "The book strikes the right balance between historical context and scientific content, and it should appeal to PHYSICS TODAY readers. ... The book's glossary alone is a valuable resource that many students entering the field will likely turn to while taking courses and after incomprehensible seminar. I am certainly going to make this excellent book part of the required reading for all students taking my introductory class on the subject." (Daniel Blair, Physics Today, December, 2011) "Roberto Piazza wrote a beautiful book on soft matter. ... The overall style of the book is very clear, peppered with interesting anecdotes, historical vignettes ... which make its reading a delight. ... Piazza's book is excellent, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to an interested lay audience as well as to physics students, or natural scientists in general, who are about to embark on a more detailed course on soft matter and biophysics. ... a fascinating read even for a working scientist ... ." (R. Podgornik, Journal of Biological Physics, March, 2012) "While I was familiar with some of the more common concepts, the author really provided some very good original explanations. In contrast to some other popular science books which simply tell you the conclusions, this books actually explains enough that I felt like I understood where in general the conclusions came from. I liked the way the author could capture key concepts in succinct and memorable phrases." (Amazon, March, 2012)show more

Rating details

8 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 12% (1)
4 25% (2)
3 62% (5)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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