Materials: A Very Short Introduction – Book Review

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 2.42.16 PMMaterials are everywhere. Right now, sitting at my desk, I am surrounded by a variety of typical office objects made out  an almost unfathomable variety of materials: metal, glass, plastic, fiber, ceramics, paper, etc. Our lives, our culture and our civilization are almost completely determined and shaped by the materials that we use. It is our human ability to create and fashion materials in order to serve our multifaceted needs that distinguish us most visibly from all other creatures.

This very short introduction is a gentle yet deep and informative introduction to materials. It takes the reader on a journey through history, chemistry, physics and biology of various materials that we encounter. It pulls out many fascinating facts that I either did not know or never even stopped to think about (it’s because of bronze’s unique composition that bells have their distinct sound, and only thanks to some very special features of silver salts was photographic process possible to occur.)

One of this book’s greatest virtues is its scope – all too often a material scientist has a very particular predilection for his/her own special class of substances, and focuses most of his attention to that topic. However, this short book is very comprehensive and covers pretty much everything that can be classified as material.

The other great aspect of this book is its easy and erudite writing style. The book is highly accessible and easy to follow, even for those who may not happen to be total science nerds.

Highly recommended.


Bojan Tunguz

Bojan Tunguz was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he and his family fled during the civil war for the neighboring Croatia. Over the past two decades he has studied, lived and worked in the United States. He is a theoretical physicist with degrees from Stanford and University of Illinois. Tunguz has taught physics at several prominent liberal arts colleges and has been writing about physics, science and technology for more than a decade. He also has a wide spectrum of interests, and reads and writes about current events, society, culture, religion and politics. Over the years he has reviewed many of the books that he has read, and posted his reviews on various online outlets. In 2011 he had become a top 10 reviewer on, where he continues to be very active. Aside from reading and writing, Tunguz enjoys traveling, digital photography, hiking, and fitness. He resides with his wife in Indiana. You can follow my review updates on the following pages as well: Facebook: Twitter: Google+:

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