Why Things Are the Way They Are

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Cambridge University Press, 1998 - Science - 254 pages
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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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Contents

PREFACE
ix
INTRODUCTION I
i
CRYSTALS 8
20
PARTICLES AND WAVES
35
THE ATOM
63
STATISTICAL PHYSICS
84
THE QUANTUM MECHANICAL CRYSTAL
103
COPPER WIRES AND GLASS RODS
133
GLASS PANES AND ALUMINIUM FOILS
163
ELECTRIC BULBS AND INSULATED CABLES
188
MAGNETS
198
SUPERCONDUCTORS
216
CONCLUSION
235
GLOSSARY
238
INDEX
251
Copyright

SILVER SPOONS AND PLASTIC SPOONS
145

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