Soft matter: the stuff that dreams are made of

Soft matter: the stuff that dreams are made of 

Roberto Piazza

Hiedelberg, Germany: Springer 2011 | 293pp | ?22.99 (SB)

ISBN 9789400705845

Reviewed by Ian Hamley 


The field of soft matter is a burgeoning one, now with several journals dedicated to the subject, as well as a number of textbooks and more specialist monographs.

Roberto Piazza provides one of the first books that aim to introduce the topic to the general reader.

It is well written, with a playful Italian style, featuring cultured digressions and interesting footnotes. This is not to imply that the English is poor, since the translation from the Italian text on which it is based (being adapted and extended, according to the author) is very good.

I could find few errors, even in the chemistry, which is worth remarking due to the self-confessed physics background of the author. Subjects covered include polymers, surfactants, colloids and biomolecules. 

The coverage of liquid crystals is less detailed than other topics. The audience for this enjoyable book will be the famous ’general reader’, most likely in actuality to be the interested specialist, working in this or closely related fields.

The book is not intended as a review monograph but provides a very nice picture of the state of the art. It could be used as an introductory textbook, although, intentionally, it does not include quantitative aspects of the subject, worked examples or questions 
and answers.

Overall, this book is very informative and written with considerable flair and enthusiasm.