By Clare S Ryan, on 15 March 2013
This morning, crawling out of my bed in icy south London my first post-sleep experience was of a chilly, tiled bathroom.
Sullenly brushing my teeth with my feet on the cold floor, new questions popped into my head. Are cold tiles really the best material to clad the bathroom in? Who made these tiles in the first place? What are they made of?
Before attending Professor Mark Miodownik’s Lunch Hour Lecture ‘Stuff matters’ these were not questions that routinely entered my head – the appearance of my first coffee was a much more pressing matter.
But Mark’s view of the world is perhaps different to most people’s, and it probably explains why he is the UCL Professor of Materials & Society (note the ‘society’ part) and we are not.
Materials and Society
If you look around you now you will see a lot of materials that once started out as rocks, sludge and various non-identifiable living things. Take, for example, the plastic of your keyboard, the water glass on your table, the concrete on the pavement outside or a stainless steel fork that you ate your lunch with (perhaps that last one’s just me). (more…)