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.
From toys to trainers, the world would be very different without plastic. From paint to toothpaste, what would we do without colloids? This fascinating exploration reveals what these materials have in common and aspects of their behavior that make them useful.
ForewordPreface to the English edition1 Overture: a special day2 A life in suspense2.1 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 aerosols3 Freedom in chains3.1 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: polyelectrolytes4 Double-faced Janus molecules4.1 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 gold5 Nanoarchitecture5.1 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 sands6 Dreamtime6.1 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 futureWeird words: soft matter from A to ZIndex of common things (or almost so)
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.
‘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 NetherlandsRoberto 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.
Ever wondered why a cement mix needs water to harden?Why do soap bubbles burst and why is crude oil so thick?What do Italians and plastics have in common?Nuggets of science hidden in the things that surround usImagine Douglas Adams meets James Joyce and they start talking science
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