Atoms Under the Floorboards: The Surprising Science Hidden in Your Home

Atoms Under the Floorboards: The Surprising Science Hidden in Your Home

by Chris Woodford


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Using the modern home as a springboard, Atoms Under the Floorboards presents the fascinating and surprising scientific explanations behind a variety of common (and often entertainingly mundane) household phenomena, from gurgling drains and squeaky floorboards to rubbery custard and shiny shoes.

Packed with facts and fun, each chapter focuses on the objects and processes familiar in everyday life and slowly unpicks the science behind them. For example, the chapter on how buildings work introduces static and dynamic forces in explaining why buildings (and their foundations) don't sink into the ground and why skyscrapers don't blow over in strong winds. The chapter on bicycles explores how "circles (better known as wheels) with a few flimsy bits of metal (spokes) stretched between them" are able to support your weight--and this leads into a discussion of compression, tension, and how gears work.

After reading Atoms Under the Floorboards, you'll never look at everyday objects the same way again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781472912237
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 06/28/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,227,715
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Chris Woodford has been a science and technology writer for twenty-five years. He is the author, co-author, or editor of a number of science education books, including the bestselling COOL STUFF series. His website,, is dedicated to explaining the science behind familiar, everyday things. He lives in Dorset, UK.

Table of Contents

Introduction 7

Chapter 1 Firm Foundations 11

Chapter 2 Upstairs, Downstairs 27

Chapter 3 Superheroics 44

Chapter 4 The Beauty of Bikes 59

Chapter 5 Car Crazy 74

Chapter 6 Sticky Stuff 86

Chapter 7 The Inside Story 100

Chapter 8 Amazing Glazing 116

Chapter 9 Saggy Sofas, Squeaky Floors 132

Chapter 10 Light Delights 148

Chapter 11 Radio Gaga 165

Chapter 12 Living by Numbers 180

Chapter 13 Blowing Hot and Cold 197

Chapter 14 Food Miles 217

Chapter 15 Stirring Stuff 233

Chapter 16 Water, Water 249

Chapter 17 Stain Games 265

Chapter 18 Dressing to Impress 279

Notes and References 295

Further Reading 327

Acknowledgements 329

Index 330

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