Friday Book Share #4

Instead of a fiction novel, I decided to read something more instructive (also it didn’t count as procrastination from my exams because it’s educational, right?)

I was also inspired because this week was the Penguin Random House’s Project Readathon to raise book donations for Save the Children.

Basically, Penguin Random House put up excerpts of all sorts of books from The Martian by Andy Weir and Wonder by R. J. Palacio to The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and How to Take Your Time by Alain de Botton (my favourite modern philosopher haha) – btw I’ve read all of these excerpts and I totally recommend you check them out!

Anyway, The New Science of Strong Materials was recommended to me by my teacher after she found out I was hoping to study materials science at university – for the interesting and useful information but also for its conversational style of writing! It was unexpectedly fun to read.


This post contains affiliate links, which are clearly marked.  I’m experimenting with affiliate links, so I hope you don’t find them too spammy!  The links above are purely of my own recommendation.

If you can’t remember the rules, find them here and on my first Friday Book Share.

The New Science of Strong Materials

or Why You Don’t Fall Through the Floor

(Affiliate links above 😉

J. E. Gordon first published this book in 1968, but it still remains relevant to this day. The Times hailed him as ‘one of the founders of materials science’ in his obituary (he died in 1998). His first-hand experience with materials is what makes this book an excellent read.

First line(s) of the book

Chapter 1: The new science of strong materials, or how to ask awkward questions.

Why do things break?

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb

Why isn’t wood weaker than it is? Why isn’t steel stronger? Why does glass sometimes shatter and sometimes bend like a spring? Why do ships break in half? What is a liquid..and is treacle one?

All these are questions about the nature of materials. All of them are vital to engineers but also intrinsically fascinating as scientific problems. During the two hundred and fifty years up to the 1920s and 1930s they had been answered largely by seeing how materials behaved in practice. But materials continued to do things that they ‘ought’ not to have done. Only in the last forty years have these questions begun to be answered by a new approach.

Now, materials scientists, of whom Professor Gordon is one, have started to look more deeply into the make-up of materials. They have found many surprises; above all, perhaps, that how a material behaves depends on how perfectly – or imperfectly – its atoms are arranged.

Using both SI and imperial units, Professor Gordon’s account of this fast-developing science is a perfect demonstration of the sometimes curious and entertaining ways in which scientists isolate and solve problems.

Introduce the main character using only three words

J. E. Gordon – entertaining materials scientist

Delightful design

(affiliate link above… Pretty picture though)

Audience appeal

To everyone who has an insatiable desire for knowledge – this book is for you. Only in a materials science book do you get one page on jade then straight after a page on tooth enamel.

You only need an elementary understanding of physics to understand the concepts in this book – slightly more difficult concepts (about GCSE – A level standard) are explained for you in the appendices.

Most of the concepts are just based on instinctive knowledge from your everyday experiences, but you will get sudden realisations where you’re like OMG why did I not make this connection before?!

It’s perfect for both the novice and the expert.

Your favourite line/scene

‘Plastics are made by fools like me

But only God can make a tree.’

You can buy The New Science of Strong Materials here on Amazon UK (affiliate link).

If you want to do this #FridayBookShare, the rules are in my first one. I definitely welcome you guys to do this #FridayBookShare!

Although this is meant to be every Friday, I will probably just post them once I’ve finished a book. Have you ever read a non-fiction book that kept you gripped? Let me know in the comments!


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