Preface to the English edition
1 Overture: a special day
2 A life in suspense
2.1 A big cast of little characters 2.2 When it pays to be superficial 2.3 Colloidal Waterage, an award-winning firm 2.4 Rock and roll in suspense 2.5 Osmosis, the breath of a dispersed world 2.6 Colloidal Lego, matter made to measure 2.7 Softness without limit: fractal aggregates 2.8 Concrete: united by charge 2.9 Particles spreading waves: colloidal light and colors 2.10 A very particular particulate ink 2.11 Flying colloids: deceptive beauty of the aerosols
3 Freedom in chains
3.1 Long and disordered queues 3.2 A tale of cross-links and double-crosses 3.3 Necklaces for all tastes 3.4 Plastics: false solids with a biddable disposition 3.5 Snake dance 3.6 Entropy: disorder or freedom? 3.7 Elastic by chance 3.8 The secret of Mister Fantastic 3.9 Panta rei 3.10 Nightmares for Indiana Jones 3.11 Charged polymers: polyelectrolytes
4 Double-faced Janus molecules
4.1 Striding on water: the physics of Jesus bugs 4.2 Surfactants, a split personality 4.3 Soap bubbles: a paradise for kids and math nerds 4.4 Micelles, when surfactants find peace 4.5 As white as can be: the science of cleaning 4.6 A large and varied family 4.7 Questions of shape 4.8 A mischievous break: watch the label! 4.9 Small but mighty emulsions 4.10 Black gold
5.1 Kepler, Bernal, and your greengrocer 5.2 Colloidal crystals: ordered by entropy 5.3 Glasses and gels, when hate and love yield similar results 5.4 The world is not (just) a ball 5.5 Sand castles and shifting sands
6.1 Concludo, ergo sum 6.2 Proteins, a matter of molecular origami 6.3 Little chemists 6.4 Truck drivers and intelligence 6.5 Freemen of Flatland 6.6 Yard workers 6.7 Body builders 6.8 A (protein-rich) lunch break 6.9 Artificial respiration 6.10 The Chieftain and his Shaman 6.10.1 The secret of simplicity 6.10.2 Message in a bottle 6.10.3 Double helices and strategies to pull them apart 6.10.4 The great contortionist 6.10.5 The queen bee and her workers 6.10.6 From Gladstone Gander to Donald Duck 6.10.7 The factory of dreams 6.10.8 Inner secrets of the Chieftain 6.10.9 Time dust or stardust? 6.11 Back to the future
Weird words: soft matter from A to Z
Index of common things (or almost so)
Roberto Piazza says: “Physics should be made simple enough to be amusing, but not so trivial as to spoil the fun.” This is exactly the approach of this book in making the science of ‘soft matter’ relevant to everyday life things such as the food we eat, the plastic we use, the concrete we build with, the cells we are made of.
Roberto Piazza trained as a physicist at the school of Vittorio Degiorgio, and is now a professor of Condensed Matter Physics at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Associate Editor of the European Physical Journal E and coordinator of the European Space Agency's Topical Team for "Applications of colloids in microgravity" of the European Space Agency. He has made important contributions to research on nanoparticle suspensions, polymer and surfactant solutions and biological macromolecules. He is not only a gifted physicists, but equally well versed in history and literature.
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