'A witty, smart writer who has a great talent' - Bill Gates
A series of glasses of transparent liquids is in front of you: but which will quench your thirst and which will kill you? And why? Why does one make us drunk, and another power a jumbo jet?
By the author of the best-selling, prize-winning Stuff Matters
This fascinating new book by the bestselling scientist and engineer Mark Miodownik is an expert tour of the world of the droplets, heartbeats and ocean waves that we come across every day. Structured around a plane journey which sees encounters with substances from water and glue to coffee and wine, he shows how these liquids can bring death and destruction as well as wonder and fascination.
From László Bíró's revolutionary pen and Abraham Gesner's kerosene to cutting-edge research on self-repairing roads and liquid computers, Miodownik uses his winning formula of scientific storytelling to bring the everyday to life. He reveals why liquids can flow up a tree but down a hill, why oil is sticky, how waves can travel so far, and how to make the perfect cup of tea.
Here are the secret lives of substances that we rely on but rarely understand.
'Miodownik packs this delightful book with so much 'well, I never knew that' information. Not only does he know his stuff but, just as importantly, he knows how to tell a good story. A truly delightful read' - Jim Al-Khalili, author of Paradox
'It's a little known fact that liquids are the coolest state of matter. And if anyone can spread that message all around him, it's Mark Miodownik. From ink to saliva, coffee to soap, this is an exhilarating, eye-opening ride.' - Philip Ball, science writer and author of H2O
'A brilliantly navigated journey through the scientific marvels of the fluid world, from coffee to kerosene, from tea to tar, from honey to hydrophobia, from peanut butter to perfluorocarbons. A thrilling read, from start to finish' - Tim Radford, author of The Consolations of Physics
A Financial Times Master of Science and chosen by The Times as one of the 100 most influential scientists in the UK, Mark Miodownik is Professor of Materials and Society at University College London, where he is also Director of the Institute of Making. He is the author of the book Stuff Matters, a New York Times bestseller which won the Royal Society Winton Prize. Mark has also received the Michael Faraday Prize for his expertise in science communication. He presents BBC TV and Radio programmes on science and engineering such as Everyday Miracles, How It Works, Chefs vs Science, Secrets of the Super Elements and recently made a three-part BBC Radio 4 documentary called Plastic Fantastic.