Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World
by Mark Miodownik.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014

Pick up this book during a meal, and you might find yourself pausing to marvel at the amazing properties of the steel in your fork, the ceramic of your plate, the textiles on your chair and myriad other materials. Miodownik, a materials scientist, explains the history and science behind things such as paper, glass, chocolate and concrete with an infectious enthusiasm. He explores the microscopic reasons “why some materials smell and others are odorless; why some materials can last for a thousand years and others become yellow and crumble in the sun; how it is that some glass can be bulletproof, while a wineglass shatters at the slightest provocation.”