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Fragile Objects by Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Jacques Badoz

Written by 1991 Nobel laureate Pierre Gilles de Gennes, this fascinating book addresses topics ranging from soft-matter physics to the activities of science: the role of individual or team work, the relation of discovery to correction, and the interplay of conscience and knowledge.
"Reading this book can be compared to strolling through a magnificent garden of fragile objects...I highly recommend it to any reader who is interested in condensed matter physics and science at large."-PHYSICS TODAY

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780387947747
Publisher: Springer New York
Publication date: 08/28/1996
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 189
Product dimensions: 0.00(w) x 0.00(h) x 0.03(d)

Table of Contents

I Soft Matter.- 1 The Indian boot and Mr. Goodyear.- Small cause, large effects.- 2 The noodle soup.- Applied research and fundamental research.- Kuhn’s example: Knowing when to switch.- 3 The tubeless siphon and the runaway boat.- A construction set.- The tubeless siphon.- The runaway boat.- The limitations of theory.- Four equations of diamondlike purity.- The true birth of ideas.- 4 The Egyptian scribe, arabic gum, and Chinese ink.- Carbon black.- Impossible loves.- The additive that makes a difference.- Paint, the magic potion.- 5 Liquid crystals and the school of fish.- The three states (of matter).- Judiciously chosen molecules.- The nematic state.- The smectic state.- How to recognize a liquid crystal?.- How to issue commands to a liquid crystal?.- 6 On the surface of things: Wetting and dewetting.- On a duck feather.- The family rug.- A pearl necklace.- Cannibalistic drops.- The Benjamin Franklin spirit.- The bilayer and the red blood cell.- 7 Bubbles and foams.- Every color of the rainbow.- Water’s skin.- Surfactants decrease the surface energy.- The birth of a film.- A self-repairing bandage.- And so goes life.- A turbulent bubble.- Newton and the Babylonian sage.- Rose, she lived the way roses do.- Drowning by numbers—or one bubble, two bubbles… foam.- Foam and the edges of the universe.- 8 Fragile objects.- II Research.- 1 Profession: Research scientist.- Teamwork.- Publish or perish.- The two halves of the sky.- A promising formula: Mixed laboratories.- The high-wire dancer.- One length ahead.- A tennis game.- 2 Discovery.- Edison and Feynman.- Memories of a trip.- Half-way across the ford.- The nanonewton.- Blunders.- Know when to stop, know when to switch.- Explosions and Bengal lights.- 3 A positive science.- The duty to inform, not the power to decide.- One danger can hide another.- Physics and metaphysics.- Measure before you judge.- 4 The Environment.- Making science heard.- A cultural deficit.- Ecology and ignorance.- More conscience calls for more science.- III Education.- 1 A pedagogy for the real world.- Good teachers.- Too much ignorance.- Manual work.- The sailor’s bar.- Experimental common sense.- Ekman and the drift of ice floes.- Leonardo da Vinci, engineer.- The “Auguste Comte” prejudice.- 2 The imperialism of mathematics.- The entrance examination theorem.- A system working in a vacuum.- Lifelong rights.- The “limp” education in universities.- 2 A little oxygen.- Some pedagogical experiments.- Giving universities some “muscle”.- Travel does make one young, but in later years.- 4 New banners.- Ethics and solidarity.- “We, civilizations, now know that we are mortal”.- Epilog.

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