This fascinating book explains why the materials we can see and touch behave as they do. In a completely nontechnical style, using only basic arithmetic, the author explains how the properties of materials result from the way they are composed of atoms and why it is they have the properties they do: for example, why copper and rubies are colored, why metals conduct heat better than glass, why magnets attract an iron nail but not a brass pin, and how superconductors are able to conduct electricity without resistance. The book is intended for general readers, and uses mainly words, pictures and analogies, with only a minimum of very simple mathematics. The author explains how it is possible to understand the basic properties of matter, and translates the technical jargon of physics into a language that can be understood by anyone with an interest in science who wants to know why the world around us behaves in the way that it does.
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