Wordtrade LogoWordtrade.com
Earth Science


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Materials Science

Functional Materials: Electrical, Dielectric, Electromagnetic, Optical and Magnetic Applications, (With Companion Solution Manual) by Deborah D. L. Chung (Engineering Materials for Technological Needs: World Scientific Publishing Company) The development of functional materials is at the heart of technological needs and the forefront of materials research. This book provides a comprehensive and up-to-date treatment of functional materials, which are needed for electrical, dielectric, electromagnetic, optical, and magnetic applications. Materials concepts covered are strongly linked to applications. Textbooks related to functional materials have not kept pace with technological needs and associated scientific advances. Introductory materials science textbooks merely gloss over functional materials while electronic materials textbooks focus on semiconductors and smart materials textbooks emphasize more on limited properties that pertain to structures.
Functional Materials assumes that the readers have had a one-semester introductory undergraduate course on materials science. The coverage on functional materials is much broader and deeper than that of an introductory materials science course. The book features hundreds of illustrations to help explain concepts and provide quantitative information. The style is general towards tutorial. Most chapters include sections on example problems, review questions and supplementary reading. This book is suitable for use as a textbook in undergraduate and graduate engineering courses. It is also suitable for use as a reference book for professionals in the electronic, computer, communication, aerospace, automotive, transportation, construction, energy and control industries. More

Fracture and Life by Brian Cotterell (Imperial College Press) This book is an interdisciplinary review of the effect of fracture on life, following the development of the understanding of fracture written from a historical perspective. After a short introduction to fracture, the first section of the book covers the effects of fracture on the evolution of the Earth, plants and animals, and man. The second section of the book covers the largely empirical control of fracture from ancient times to the end of the nineteenth century. The final section reviews the development of fracture theory as a discipline and its application during the twentieth century through to the present time.

Excerpt: Those of us who have worked on fracture for a long time often suspect that the subject has far-reaching implications in fields other than our own. Most come to the subject via various aspects of structural integrity or material development but we observe cracks in rocks and see mowers cutting grass, for example, and perceive that these could be described within a general framework of fracture mechanics. Putting this framework in place and explaining the arguments with supporting evidence is a huge task and it is this that Brian Cotterell has achieved.

We are given a historical review of the subject and intriguing explorations of the influence of fracture in making stone tools and designing classical buildings, for example. The whole area of the influence of fracture in biology is described via its effect on evolution. One is given a whole new perspective on the properties and design of teeth by this section. Biology is probably the next growth area in the subject and this book is a wonderful primer for anyone entering this new field. When this is followed by a review of the importance of fracture in the development of electronic materials one gains some perspective of the enormous range of the book.

Fracture affects everything. On a grand scale fracture has played a part in the evolution of the world as we know it. The evolution of life has seen constant interplay between plants and animals avoiding being torn or eaten, and the need of other animals to eat. Human evolution has been greatly affected by the fact that stones were easily flaked to produce sharp tools. Without stone tools human evolution might have been radically different. Civilization has required the development of means to cut and fracture to fashion artifacts and structures as well as the development of the technology to avoid fracture. As civilizations became more sophisticated, so the need to control fracture grew. New technologies and materials brought new fracture problems. Fortunately, scientists and engineers are now largely very successful at controlling fracture so that most people do not even think about its possibility apart from breaking their own bones.

Man's understanding of fracture has developed with time. Even before we became human our hominid ancestors knew how to flake sharp stone tools. The very attribute that made stone tools easy to flake also made them easily broken and more durable metal tools finally replaced them. The ancient civilizations produced enduring stone buildings that required the development of the means to quarry and fashion stone. Building techniques had also to be developed to ensure that the buildings did not fracture and collapse. The control of fracture, until relatively recently, has been pragmatic. It was the Greeks who first began to try to understand fracture, but not until the Renaissance did the theory of fracture start to be developed. Practical problems caused the development of fracture theory. The Sun King, Louis XIV of France, wanted fountains of great height for Versailles and so Edme Marriotte developed an understanding of the mechanics of pressure piping so that he could avoid burst pipes. The Industrial Revolution saw an exponential growth in technology requiring professional engineers for the first time. From the Industrial Revolution to the mid-twentieth-century, fracture was to some extent out of control. Fortunately now fracture is well controlled and the new discipline of fracture mechanics, which began in the mid-twentieth century, has come to maturity. In my professional life I have witnessed and made a small contribution to the growth of this new discipline. It seems a good moment to record how fracture has affected our lives and how it has been understood.

The concept for this book first arose during a 1996 visit to Peter Rossmanith in Vienna, where the idea of jointly writing a history of fracture mechanics was conceived. Unfortunately for many reasons that book was not written then, but over the years it has been in the back of my mind. Since retiring I have had the time to revisit the concept. Although I have broadened the scope of the book, it still uses much of the framework that was worked out with Peter Rossmanith. What I have attempted to do is to show how fracture has affected our world and the efforts that have been made to understand, exploit, and control it. The book is written from a historical aspect but it is not a history as such. I have deliberately not given any mathematical derivations, concentrated on the physics and I have tried to keep the number of equations to a minimum. It is very much of a personal view. When Isaac Todhunter, the English nineteenth-century mathematician, wrote his classic history of the theory of elasticity, he could be exhaustive. That was not an option for this book. What I have tried to do is to cover what I see as the main developments in fracture. It has been very difficult to know what to exclude, not what to include. I know that in writing this book I will probably have made more enemies than friends. I have almost certainly unjustifiably excluded many whose work does form part of the main fracture developments and there are very many more researchers who have made a significant advance in fracture than I have been able to mention in this short book. It does not mean that because a particular researcher is not mentioned that I think their contribution was not important, in fact in many cases it just shows my own ignorance.

The book is written for a wide audience and I hope that it will be read by anybody whose interest or work touches on fracture. I am very much of the view that to really understand a piece of research it is necessary to know its background and what motivated the work. Also, genuine advances can be made by applying knowledge from one field to another. Because of the increasing complexity of knowledge, young researchers, while having expertise in their field, often do not have a wide knowledge. I would like to think that a researcher starting out to do research on any aspect of fracture would benefit from reading this book.

The book uses more general histories and reviews and I would like particularly to mention the exhaustive History of the Theory of Elasticity and of the Strength of Materials, from Galilei to Lord Kelvin, by Issac Todhunter, the reliable History of Strength of Materials, by Stephen Timoshenko, and the two wonderfully written books by Jim Gordon: The New Science of Strong Materials, or Why You Don't Fall Through the Floor and Structures, or Why Things Don't Fall Down. My writing style for this book has also been greatly influenced by the two books of Jim Gordon who had a marvellous personal style. To make the book more personal I have used people's preferred personal names where they are known to me. To maintain consistency I have given the personal names of Chinese people before their surname.

The word 'failure' was first used in the sense of breakdown in an entity or process by John Smeaton (1724-1792), the first fully professional English engineer, in 1793 to describe the breaking of a bolt in the Eddystone Lighthouse, which he had built. Failure implies a breakdown in the function of any entity such as heart failure, corrosion of a boiler tube, or the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940, where the suspension bridge had insufficient torsional resistance and failed due to torsional vibrations induced by a 67 km/hr wind, which would not normally cause concern for the integrity of a bridge. Here the interest lies in one particular failure mode: fracture.

Fracture is associated by most people with the fracture of bones and that was indeed the way the word was first used in a translation by Robert Copland in 1541 of the Therapeutic or Curative Method by Claude Galyen.1 Usually fracture is unwanted and results in the failure of the object. Much of this book is about avoiding fracture. However, there are many cases where fracture is desired. The magnificent enduring stone edifices built in ancient times required knowledge of how to usefully fashion stone by controlled fracture. Fractures create new surfaces, which can be desired, as in cutting or machining. Traditionally, cutting and machining have been treated as separate subjects to fracture, but recently they have been seen to be just another aspect of fracture and will be discussed in Chapter 11.

Fractures have played a large part in shaping the world around us. The evolution of life has been controlled in part by the need either to avoid fractures and tears or to be able to exploit foodstuffs by tearing with tooth and claw. The ability to flake stone to make stone tools had a significant effect on the evolution of the human race. As civilisation grew, fracture was both avoided and exploited. With time, fracture needed to be understood. At first that understanding was empirical. From the time of the Greeks onwards attempts were made to understand how things fractured. Since the Industrial Revolution new technologies have brought fracture problems that needed to be solved. Corrosion and wear constitute today's largest failure cost, costing some $120 billion a year in the US alone, but the cost of fracture is not much less. Hence economically there is a great need to understand and control fracture. In this chapter the necessary basics to understand the subsequent chapters are presented.

At the beginning of the twenty-first-century fracture is a mature discipline. The recent developments in the study of fracture are largely due to a tremendous growth in computing power and in material characterisation techniques such as atomic force microscopy (AFM) invented by Gerd Binnig, Calvin Quate and Christoph Gerber in 1985.1 Fracture behaviour at the atomic scale obviously ultimately controls engineering fracture behaviour and early in the development of fracture theory the linking of the two scales was seen as the holy grail for the understanding of the fracture behaviour of materials. Modern techniques are making this quest seem possible. The exploration of the properties of nanocrystalline materials and nanocomposites needs an understanding of the fracture of materials at the atomic scale. Nature, of course, has learnt through evolution how to build strong and tough materials from the bottom up and natural materials are being studied to try to learn her secrets and produce biomimetics.

In the mid-twentieth-century the impetus for the development of fracture mechanics was catastrophic structural failures, a new driving force has been the phenomenal growth in microelectronics and the need for mechanical reliability at a very small scale. Continuum mechanics has been successful in assessing the integrity of thin films and multilayers down to the order of a micron. While future nano-devices will need modelling at a smaller scale, it seems appropriate to start this chapter with a short review of the success of conventional fracture mechanics in assessing the integrity of micro-devices.

The Poetry of Physics and the Physics of Poetry by Robert L. Logan (World Scientific Publishing Company) is a textbook for a survey course in physics taught without mathematics, that also takes into account the social impact and influences from the arts and society. It combines physics, literature, history and philosophy from the dawn of human life to the 21st century. It will also be of interest to the general reader.

Excerpt: "Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars — mere globs of gas atoms. I, too, can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more?" — Richard Feynman

There is poetry in physics and physics in poetry. This book is the product of a course I taught at the University of Toronto starting in 1971 and which I am still teaching at the date of this publication. The course was entitled the Poetry of Physics and the Physics of Poetry. The course was first taught at University College of the University of Toronto and then switched to New College where I also organized a series of seminars on future studies known as the Club of Gnu. After a short recess the course then became a Department of Physics course and was offered as a seminar course for first year students. The purpose of the course that I have now taught for the past 38 years was to introduce the ideas of physics to humanities and arts student who would not otherwise be exposed to these ideas and to try to address the alienation to science that so many of the lay public feel, which is a characteristic of our times. By studying physics without math you, the reader, will encounter the poetry of physics. We will also examine some of the impacts of physics on the humanities and the arts. This is the physics of poetry.

The alienation represented by the gap between the sciences and the humanities is frequently referred to as the two cultures. There are two factors contributing to this alienation; one is the basic lack of understanding of the actual subject matter of science and the other a misunderstanding of the role science plays in our society. Although the fear of science is quite pervasive I believe there are many people interested in leaning about physics. The word "physics" is derived from the Greek word phusis, which means nature. Those that are curious about the "nature" of the world in which they live should, therefore, want to study physics.

This unfortunately, is not always the case, due in part to the fact that historically physics has been taught in a manner, which alienates most students. This has been accomplished by teaching physics mathematically, which has resulted in more confusion than elucidation for many. Also because the easiest way to examine students and assign grades is to ask quantitative questions, there has been a tendency to teach the formulae of physics rather than the concepts.

This book attempts to remedy this classical situation by communicating the ideas of physics to the reader without relying on mathematics. Mathematical formulae are used, but only after the concepts have been carefully explained. The math will be purely supplementary and none of the material developed later in, the book will depend on these formulae. The role of a mathematical equation in physics is also described. To repeat the mathematics is purely supplementary. This book is written explicitly for the people who have difficulty with the mathematics but wish to understand their physical universe. Although all fields of physics are covered the reader will find a bit more emphasis on the modern physics that emerged in the beginning of the 20th century with quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of relativity. The reason for this is that this physics is less intuitive than classical physics and hence requires more of an explanation.

A second aim of the book is to understand the nature of science and the role it plays in shaping both our thinking and the structure of our society. We live in times when many of the decisions in our society are made by professionals claiming scientific expertise. Science is the password today with those who study social and political problems. They label themselves social scientists and political scientists. It is, therefore, vital to the survival of our society that there exists a general understanding of what science is, what it can do and perhaps most importantly what it cannot do. I have therefore, made an attempt to shed as much light on the scientific process as possible. We will demonstrate that science unlike mathematics cannot prove the truth of its propositions but that it must constantly test its hypotheses.

To restore the perspective of what science is really about we examine science as a language, a way of describing the world we live in. To this end we briefly examine the origin and the evolution of language to reveal how the language of science emerged. We show that the spirit of trying to describe the physical world we live in is universal and can be traced back to preliterate societies and their oral creation myths. It was with writing that the first signs of scientific thinking began to emerge. We will also explain how alphabetic writing influenced the development of abstract science in the West despite the fact that most of technology emerged in China. We will also document the contributions to science by other non-European cultures once again demonstrating the universality of scientific thinking. Hindu mathematicians invented zero and Arab mathematicians transmitted it to Europe providing the mathematical tools for modern science. Arab scientists and scholars contributed to the scientific revolution in Renaissance Europe through their accomplishments in algebra, chemistry and medicine.

The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the power of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer stand, rapt in awe, is as good as dead. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.

Hopefully, the beauty of the concepts of physics will be conveyed so that the reader will come to appreciate the poetry of physics.

In addition to the poetry of physics we also examine in this book the physics of poetry by which we mean the ways in which physics has influenced the development of poetry and all of the humanities including painting, music, literature and all of the fine arts. Interspersed within our description of the evolution of science we will examine how the arts were influenced by science and vice-versa how the arts and humanities influenced science. There will be more of a focus on poetry because like science it is pithy and it will be easy to demonstrate how science impacted on this art form by quoting from poets ranging from the poetry of creation myths to the poetry of modern times.

What is physics? One way to answer this question is to describe physics as the study of motion, energy, heat, waves, sound, light, electricity, magnetism, matter, atoms, molecules, and nuclei. This description, aside from sounding like the table of contents of a high school physics textbook, does not really specify the nature of physics. Physics is not just the study of the natural phenomena listed above but it is also a process; a process, which has two distinguishable aspects.

The first of these is simply the acquisition of knowledge of our physical environment. The second, and perhaps more interesting, is the creation of a worldview, which provides a framework for understanding the significance of this information. These two activities are by no means independent of each other. One requires a worldview to acquire new knowledge and vice versa one needs knowledge with which to create a worldview. But how does this process begin? Which comes first, the knowledge or the worldview?

In my opinion, these two processes arise together, each creating the conditions for the other. This is analogous to a present day theory concerning the existence of elementary particles. According to the bootstrap theory, the so-called elementary particles such as protons, neutrons, and mesons are actually not elementary at all but rather they are composites of each other and they bootstrap each other into existence. But, we are getting ahead of our story. We shall wait till later to discuss the bootstrap theory of elementary particles. For now, it is useful to recognize the two aspects of the process of physics described above. Another way to describe the relationship between "the gathering of facts" and "the building of a framework for the facts" is in term of autocatalysis. Autocatalysis occurs when a group of chemicals catalyze each other's production. Stuart Kauffman has argued that life began as the autocatalysis of a large set of organic chemicals that were able to reproduce themselves.

The study of physics is generally recognized to be quite old but there are differences of opinion as to how old. Some would argue that physics began in Western Europe during the Renaissance with the work of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton. Others would trace the beginnings back to the early Greeks and credit the Ionian, Thales, with being the world's first physicist. Still others would cite the even older cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt and China. For me, physics or the study of nature is much older having begun with the first humans.

Humans became scientists for the sake of their own survival. The very first toolmakers were scientists. They discovered that certain objects in their physical environment were useful for performing certain tasks. Having learned this they went on to improve on these found objects first by selecting objects more suitable for the task involved and later actually altering the materials they found to produce manufactured tools. This activity is usually referred to as the creation of technology. But the type of reasoning involved in this process' is typical of the scientific method, which begins with observations of nature and moves on to generalizations or hypotheses that are tested. For early humans, the generalizations that were made were not in the form of theoretical laws but rather as useful tools. This is exemplified by the achievement of tools for hunting and gathering, pastoralism and agriculture and the use of herbs for rudimentary medicine. All of these activities required a sophisticated level of scientific reasoning. One might dispute this conclusion by claiming that these achievements were technological and not scientific. We usually refer to the acquisition of basic information as science and its application to practical problems as technology. While this distinction is useful when considering our highly specialized world — its usefulness when applied to early human culture is perhaps not as great. A technological achievement presupposes the scientific achievement upon which it is based. The merging of the technological and scientific achievements of early humans has obscured our appreciation of their scientific capacity.

Primitive science, rooted totally in practical application also differs from modern science and even ancient Greek science in that it is less abstract. Astronomy was perhaps our first abstract scientific accomplishment, even though it was motivated by the needs of farmers who had to determine the best time to plant and harvest their crops.

An example of the sophistication of early astronomy is the megalithic
structure of Stonehenge built in approximately 2000 B.C. in England,
constructed with great effort using heavy rocks weighing up to 50 tons.
G.S. Hawkins (1988) in his fascinating book Stonehenge Decoded
concludes that Stonehenge was not merely a temple as originally thought
but actually an astronomical observatory capable of predicting accurately
lunar eclipses as well as the seasonal equinoxes. One cannot help but
be impressed when one realizes that the builders of Stonehenge had
determined a 56-year cycle of lunar eclipses.

In his book The Savage Mind, Levi-Strauss (1960) reveals another aspect of the scientific sophistication of so-called primitive human cultures whose knowledge of plants rivals that of modern botanists. In fact, Levi-Strauss points out that contemporary botanists discovered a number of errors in their classification scheme based on the work of Linneaus by studying the classification scheme or certain South American Indians.

The examples of early scientific activity so far discussed have centered about the fact gathering aspect of physics. Evidence of interest in the other aspect of physics, namely the creation of a worldview, is documented by the mythology of primitive people. All of the peoples of the world have a section of their mythology devoted to the creation of the universe. This is a manifestation of the universal drive of all cultures to understand the nature of the world they inhabit. A collection of creation myths assembled by Charles Long (2003) in his book Alpha illustrates the diversity of explanations provided by primitive cultures to understand the existence of the universe. Amidst this diversity a pattern emerges, however, which enables one to categorize the various creation myths into different classes of explanations. One of the interesting aspects of Long' s collection is that within a single class of explanations one finds specific examples from diverse geographical locations around the globe attesting to the universality of human thought. One also finds that within a single cultural milieu more than one type of explanation is employed in their mythology.

Perhaps the oldest group of emergence myths is the one in which the Earth arises from a Mother Earth Goddess as represented by mythology of North American Indians, Islanders of the South Pacific, and the people living on the north eastern frontier of India. In another set of myths the world arises from the sexual union of a father sky god and a mother Earth goddess. Examples of this form are found in the mythology of ancient Egypt, Greece, India, Babylonia, Polynesia and North America. Other classes of myths include creation by an earth diver, creation from a cosmic egg, creation from chaos, and creation from nothing. In the earth diver myths an animal or god dives into a body of water to retrieve a tiny particle of earth, which then expands to become the world. The cosmic egg myths tell of an egg, usually golden, which appears at the first moment of the universe. The egg breaks open and the events of the universe unfold. In one version the upper part of the eggshell becomes the heavens and the lower part, the Earth. At the beginning of the creation from chaos myths there is disorder or chaos sometimes depicted as water from which a creator creates the universe. Finally, in the creation from nothing myths, which are closely related to the chaos myths, the original starting point of the universe is a void. The best-known example of this group to Western readers, of course, is Genesis, where we read, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. The Earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep". Other examples of the creation from nothing myth are found among the ancient Greeks, the Australian aborigines, the Zuni Indians of the southwest United States, the Maori of New Zealand, the Mayans of ancient Mexico, and the Hindu thinkers of ancient India.

Science cannot prove that a hypothesis is correct. It can only verify that the hypothesis explains all observed facts and has passed all experimental tests of its validity. Only mathematics can prove that a proposition is true but that proof has to be based on some axioms that are assumed to be obviously or self-evidently true. Karl Popper (1959 and 1979), was annoyed by those Marxists and Freudians, who always wriggled out of any contradiction between their predictions and observations with some ad hoc explanation. He proposed that for a proposition to be considered a hypothesis of science it had to be falsifiable. Using Popper's criteria as an axiom I (Logan 2003) was able to prove that science cannot prove that a proposition is true. If one proved a proposition was true then it could not be falsified and therefore according to Popper's criteria it could not be considered a scientific proposition. Therefore science cannot prove the truth of one of its propositions. This is the difference between science and mathematics. Science studies the real world and mathematics makes up its own world. Scientists, however, make use of mathematics to study and describe the real world.

The two aspects of physics involving the acquisition of information and the creation of a world picture have one feature in common —they both provide us with a degree of comfort and security. The first aspect contributes to our material security. Knowledge of the physical environment and how it responds to our actions is essential to planning one's affairs. It is from this fact acquiring aspect of physics that technology arises. It is from the second or synthesizing aspect of physics, however, that we derive the psychological comforts that accrue from the possession of a worldview. The possession of a worldview is usually associated with philosophy and religion and not physics. This, unfortunately, is our modern predicament. It should be recalled that for preliterate cultures physics, philosophy and religion were integrated. The same was true for Greek culture. Perhaps the enormous mismanagement of our material resources and our environment, which characterizes our times, could be eliminated if we could once again integrate philosophy, religion and physics.


Headline 3

insert content here