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Made to Measure:
New Materials for the 21st Century
Philip Ball

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1998

Paperback | 1999 | $46.00 | £38.95 | ISBN: 9780691009759
472 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 17 color illus. 61 halftones 83 line drawings
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Made to Measure introduces a general audience to one of today's most exciting areas of scientific research: materials science. Philip Ball describes how scientists are currently inventing thousands of new materials, ranging from synthetic skin, blood, and bone to substances that repair themselves and adapt to their environment, that swell and flex like muscles, that repel any ink or paint, and that capture and store the energy of the Sun. He shows how all this is being accomplished precisely because, for the first time in history, materials are being "made to measure": designed for particular applications, rather than discovered in nature or by haphazard experimentation. Now scientists literally put new materials together on the drawing board in the same way that a blueprint is specified for a house or an electronic circuit. But the designers are working not with skylights and alcoves, not with transistors and capacitors, but with molecules and atoms.

This book is written in the same engaging manner as Ball's popular book on chemistry, Designing the Molecular World, and it links insights from chemistry, biology, and physics with those from engineering as it outlines the various areas in which new materials will transform our lives in the twenty-first century. The chapters provide vignettes from a broad range of selected areas of materials science and can be read as separate essays. The subjects include photonic materials, materials for information storage, smart materials, biomaterials, biomedical materials, materials for clean energy, porous materials, diamond and hard materials, new polymers, and surfaces and interfaces.


"Let me state up front that Made to Measure ... is an outstanding book. Written for the general reader, it will also greatly appeal to specialists. If you are a solid-state physicist, chemist, materials scientist, engineer, science policy maker, or keen amateur scientist, then sell your shirt to buy it."--Colin Humphreys, New Scientist

"Philip Ball offers a panorama of 1,001 new materials for the next century.... His survey would make a good textbook for an introductory course in materials science. For the rest of us, the sheer range of examples is impressive."--Jon Turney, Financial Times

"Philip Ball writes about the very modern science of materials.... [He] is full of fascinating insights, and especially on the photonic side of things he really opens the reader's eyes.... [His] book is the first to be entirely devoted to this field. That task has been very well accomplished, and the book is warmly recommended."--Robert W. Cahn, European Journal of Physics


"Made to Measure is a lucid account of the most advanced new materials. While it describes today's technology, this book is really about the future. If you like the down-to-the-last-atom designer 'stuff' described within, you'll love the twenty-first century. The future will be built of such stuff."--Richard E. Smalley, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

"The Materials Era anticipated the principal frontiers in science, technology, and engineering of the second half of the twentieth century. Philip Ball, in Made to Measure, extends these frontiers into the next millennium with skillful foresight. For Ball, the 'measure' of matter implies product design, wherein knowledge of rapidly advancing materials systems is now crucial for progress in commerce and culture. His book qualifies as a reference on the very matter that supports the Information Age."--W. O. Baker, Retired Chairman of the Board, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies

More Endorsements

Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Art of Making 3
Ch. 1 Light Talk: Photonic Materials 15
Ch. 2 Total Recall: Materials for Information Storage 63
Ch. 3 Clever Stuff: Smart Materials 103
Ch. 4 Only Natural: Biomaterials 143
Ch. 5 Spare Parts: Biomedical Materials 209
Ch. 6 Full Power: Materials for Clean Energy 244
Ch. 7 Tunnel Vision: Porous Materials 282
Ch. 8 Hard Work: Diamond and Hard Materials 313
Ch. 9 Chain Reactions: The New Polymers 344
Ch. 10 Face Value: Surfaces and Interfaces 384
Bibliography 429
Figure Credits 445
Index 447

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