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Summary

Matter is the raw material of the universe. Discover how the immense variety of matter - stars, mountains, plants, people - is generated by a limited number of chemical elements that combine in simple, well-defined ways. Consider carbon, a relatively common atom with many faces: diamond, which is the hardest known mineral; graphite, which is among the softest known substances; and carbon nanotubes, which are 300 times stronger than steel and have remarkable electrical properties.

In the 24 engaging lectures of The Nature of Matter, no scientific background is needed to appreciate such miracles of everyday life as a bouncing rubber ball or water's astonishing power to dissolve. Moreover, the study of matter has led directly to such inventions as semiconductor circuits for computers, new fabrics for clothes, and powerful adhesives for medicine and industry. These discoveries were hard won by scientific sleuths, but we can all sit back and enjoy the details - just as we delight in the solution to a good detective story. Since prehistoric times, knowledge of materials has driven the development of civilization. The Stone Age was succeeded by the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Age, and now the age of silicon - the element that is the basis of the semiconductor revolution.

Where will new methods and materials take us next? Professor Ball notes that the "fun part about being a chemist is that we still have lots of combinations of these raw materials to explore". Join this outstanding teacher and researcher on this exciting journey of discovery into the substance of everyday life.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2015 The Great Courses (P)2015 The Teaching Company, LLC

What members say

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Incredible

Have read this book 10 times and keep going back for more. The concepts bring your everyday life into the chemical and physalis realms of science. It is just magical.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent entry into the world of physics

A great introduction that left me wanting more. Fortunately, there are dozens of additional courses. Recommended.

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Give Yourself a Materials Science Refresher

If you are science student or just a person with an interest in "techy" things then you will like this. Its very informative, sometimes in a "broad brush" and sometimes with little details you'd need in an exam. And I really enjoyed the book!

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Great book goes into some detail in most areas

Good book would highly recommend. One of the better great courses narrators/lecturers. Hope there are more like this

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt
  • 06-09-16

95% Chemistry, 5% Physics

Given the title, I expected this books to discuss matter in terms of particle physics, but this is basically a chemistry book. Granted, a discussion of chemistry is warranted when discussing the nature of matter, but I had expected much much less. The book wasn'd bad per se, just not what I expected given the title.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Greg Lindsay
  • 21-10-16

Great for a technical audience

What made the experience of listening to The Nature of Matter: Understanding the Physical World the most enjoyable?

The book covered a very wide variety of chemistry subjects, from sub-atomic, atomic, and molecular interactions to the science of building materials, foods, dyes, aerospace materials, and more. Very educational and well organized. Parts of it were somewhat technical: at least an introductory college level. If you think a chapter is slightly dry, just wait for the later chapters.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • User
  • 03-11-15

High School or Lower Level

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you never had ANY science class at all, this book is for you. If you know what an atom is, have heard of the concept of chemistry, or received higher education than a GED, its profoundly redundant. Way too elementary to be deemed college level.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something that IS education and not an 8th grade refresher lecture.

34 of 41 people found this review helpful

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  • kyle
  • 04-04-17

highly recommend

I was really satisfied with the breadth of topics and the depth of explanations. He was also very good at tying concepts together throughout the series while keeping me interested in his direction. I highly recommend this lecture series as a very solid baseline for understanding our world.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Adam
  • 16-02-17

good topics, poor delivery

There where some really strange transitions throughout. He would state obvious facts far too often as a means of a segue. I cringed multiple times. still learned a lot about material science though.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • bn
  • 21-06-16

one of the most fascinating reads/listens ever

just finished it... starting over immediately. I would definitely recommend this, even if you don't follow along with all the details of the chemistry, it's still worthwhile.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • AB
  • 07-01-16

Well done

Recommend you read along with the PDF if possible but if not it's still interesting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim Krumpelman
  • 03-11-16

Better Than The Title

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is the content for which I've been searching! Dr Ball is clear minded about the complex features of material at its atomic level. He connects the dots so well that the content seems rather simple and wonderful. I've met a few of his students, and they claim that he is spectacular in their chemistry courses. Can Dr. Ball now bring forth physical chemistry in audible form? I'll be waiting and listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Marcin
  • 07-07-16

Mostku material chemistry

Do not expect much physical or quantum chemistry here, it's a freshman-level introduction to chemistry with focus on material chemistry. Narration is more than good.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Florence Christman
  • 19-05-16

FTCUA review of the Prof Ball's Nature of Matter

What did you love best about The Nature of Matter: Understanding the Physical World?

I listened first run nonstop; I learned already. Prof Ball delivery was good.
My physics and chemistry courses were more structured.

The shell theory of the atom should be termed theory.

Good you emphasized wave and particle nature of e-m radiation.

Should touch on non ionizing and ionizing radiation.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Nature of Matter: Understanding the Physical World?

Explanation of heat capacity, thermodynamics, plastics and thermoplastics; however you missed talking about BIOFUELS and baseline studies for Oil and Natural Gas exploration and the need for alternatives to chemical and hydraulic fracking.

What does Professor David W. Ball bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

audible is capturing one's attention

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

i will listen for a second time.

Any additional comments?

thumbs up

4 of 6 people found this review helpful