Cover image for Liquid rules : the delightful and dangerous substances that flow through our lives / Mark Miodownik.
Title:
Liquid rules : the delightful and dangerous substances that flow through our lives / Mark Miodownik.
ISBN:
9780544850194
Edition:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.
Physical Description:
xv, 232 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
General Note:
Originally published under the title Liquid in Great Britain by Penguin Books, 2018.
Contents:
Introduction -- Explosive -- Intoxicating -- Deep -- Sticky -- Fantastic -- Visceral -- Refreshing -- Cleansing -- Cooling -- Indelible -- Cloudy -- Solid -- Sustainable.
Abstract:
Thoughts on many things in liquid form.

Sometimes explosive, often delicious, occasionally poisonous, but always interesting: the New York Times-bestselling author of Stuff Matters shows us the secret lives of liquids: the shadow counterpart of our solid “stuff.” We all know that without water we couldn’t survive, and that sometimes a cup of coffee or a glass of wine feels just as vital. But do we really understand how much we rely on liquids, or the destructive power they hold? Set over the course of a flight from London to San Francisco, Liquid Rules offers readers a fascinating tour of these formless substances, told through the language of molecules, droplets, heartbeats, and ocean waves. Throughout the trip, we encounter fluids within the plane -- from a seemingly ordinary cup of tea to a liquid crystal display screen -- and without, in the volcanoes of Iceland, the frozen expanse of Greenland, and the marvelous California coastline. We come to see liquids as substances of wonder and fascination, and to understand their potential for death and destruction. Just as in Stuff Matters, Mark Miodownik’s unique brand of scientific storytelling brings liquids and their mysterious properties to life in a captivating new way. - Publisher's description.
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Summary

Summary

"Entertaining...From the physics of ballpoint pens to the origin of jet-aircraft contrails, the book rewards the reader with fascinating facts and insights. Every day, millions of people travel on an airplane. Fortunately, Mark Miodownik was recently one of them." -- Wall Street Journal

Sometimes explosive, often delicious, occasionally poisonous, but always interesting: the New York Times- bestselling author of Stuff Matters shows us the secret lives of liquids: the shadow counterpart of our solid "stuff."

We all know that without water we couldn't survive, and that sometimes a cup of coffee or a glass of wine feels just as vital. But do we really understand how much we rely on liquids, or the destructive power they hold?

Set over the course of a flight from London to San Francisco, Liquid Rules offers readers a fascinating tour of these formless substances, told through the language of molecules, droplets, heartbeats, and ocean waves. Throughout the trip, we encounter fluids within the plane--from a seemingly ordinary cup of tea to a liquid crystal display screen--and without, in the volcanoes of Iceland, the frozen expanse of Greenland, and the marvelous California coastline. We come to see liquids as substances of wonder and fascination, and to understand their potential for death and destruction. Just as in Stuff Matters, Mark Miodownik's unique brand of scientific storytelling brings liquids and their mysterious properties to life in a captivating new way.


Author Notes

MARK MIODOWNIK is a professor of materials and society at University College London, and director of the Institute of Making. His first book, Stuff Matters, was a New York Times bestseller and won the National Academy of Sciences Communication Award and the Royal Society Winton Prize.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this informative, casual narrative, Miodownik (Stuff Matters), a science professor at University College London, gives a guided tour of the strange, wondrous liquids that flow through everyday life. He compresses myriad science lessons into one transatlantic flight on the theory that "there is no better way to illustrate the power and delight we gain from controlling liquids than by taking a look at those involved in the flight of an airplane and the experience of the passengers onboard." From beverage cart and lavatory to sky and tarmac, he finds stories waiting in every conceivable corner. Tea, for instance, started its existence as an assortment of "shoots on a seemingly unremarkable evergreen shrub" which modern-day humans' ancestors didn't notice for millennia. Wine is a vessel for the "dissolved ethanol you're about to consume." Overhead air conditioning exists thanks to "some of the most dangerous liquids on the planet." Even the humble ink needed to fill out a customs form is a marvel, because flowing and solidifying in the right order, and consistently and fast, "is much trickier than it looks." This popular science work straightforwardly and clearly explains "the mysterious properties of liquids and how we have come to rely on them" in a novel, engaging manner. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Miodownik writes an engaging companion to his previous book, Stuff Matters, painting a picture of our relationship with liquids ("a form of matter in which molecules swim around") via a narrative cleverly structured around a transatlantic flight. The volume includes many hands-on examples, not surprising coming from the director of the Institute of Making (Univ. Coll. London). Some of these are funny as well as instructive, such as when inadvertently drooling on his seat mate while sleeping on a flight leads to a discussion of bodily fluids. The ­one-word chapter titles concisely describe many of the characteristics of liquids: explosive, sticky, refreshing, fantastic, and sustainable. Each chapter discusses the chemistry (with many illustrations of chemical structures), as well as the physics, biology, history, and social impact of different types of liquids, from kerosene to mucus. Along the way, Miodownik dispels common myths relating to liquids and introduces overlooked scientists such as student Alfred Nobel's professor, Ascanio Sobrero, who first synthesized nitroglycerin. VERDICT This imminently readable book straddles both science and social science and should be enjoyable to readers of high school age through adult.-Sara R. Tompson, Lawrence, KS © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.