The scientist and prize-winning author on miracle materials, the real problem with plastics and the ‘naughty’ nature of liquids

Materials scientist Mark Miodownik’s first book, Stuff Matters, won the 2014 Royal Society book prize. His second, Liquid: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives, has been shortlisted for the 2018 award. He has presented science programmes for the BBC, the most recent of which was the Radio 4 series Plastic Fantastic. He also delivered the prestigious Royal Institution Christmas lectures in 2010 and was appointed an MBE in the 2018 New Year honours list.

You say “liquids are the alter ego of dependable solid stuff”. Did that make them a natural topic for the sequel to your previous book, Stuff Matters?
I am doing a project about self-healing roads and I had to deal with tar. Previously I thought it was a solid. And then I realised that it’s a liquid behaving like a solid. And that opened the door to: “What are liquids anyway?”

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