Cover: Sensitive Matter: Foams, Gels, Liquid Crystals, and Other Miracles, from Harvard University PressCover: Sensitive Matter in HARDCOVER

Sensitive Matter

Foams, Gels, Liquid Crystals, and Other Miracles

Add to Cart

Product Details


$26.00 • £20.95 • €23.50

ISBN 9780674064560

Publication Date: 04/10/2012


208 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

15 halftones, 15 line illustrations


  • Preface: Matter, Are You There? / Jean-Claude Carrière
  • Prologue: Sensitive Matter, Divine Matter?
  • Introduction: Let Us Praise Sensitivity, a Unifying Virtue
  • Conciliation: The Art of Resolving Conflicts
    • 1. Peacemaking among Enemies… Easy When a Mediator Is Involved
      • Blend or Separate?
      • Conciliation
      • No-Fail Mayonnaise
      • A Very Discreet Peacemaker
      • Beyond Mayonnaise
    • 2. Dissolving Fat in Water: A Question of Organization
    • 3. Don’t Mix, Associate!
      • Those Were the Days
      • The Psychology of a School of Fish
      • Molecular Anatomy
      • Sequestering a School of Fish
      • Windows Would Do Well to Reflect
      • Revelation: The Little Additive That Changes Everything
    • 4. Rubber: A Story Nearly Cut Short
      • Exploring the Amazon
      • Charles Goodyear: A Human Adventure
      • Beyond Rubber
      • Polywater: A Case of Pathological Science
    • 5. The Firefighter’s Jet Stream: Reach for the Sky
    • 6. The Glamorous Affair of Gas and Liquid
      • From Grape Juice to a Champagne Glass: This Way, Please!
      • The Role of Interfaces
      • Certified Foamability
      • Living on the Edge
      • Beyond Champagne
    • 7. Down with Foam!
    • 8. Breathing: An Unseen Triumph
      • What Is the Problem?
      • The History of Alveolar Pressure
      • Not Too Much, Not Too Little
      • Pulmonary Surfactant: A Multifunctional Material
    • 9. Familiarity and Distance: Colloids
      • Being Divided Brings Them Together
      • The Scribe’s Task
      • Ménage à Trois
      • Neither Too Little nor Too Much
      • Additional Instructions
      • Antithesis
      • Postscript
    • 10. Sensitive Cooking
      • Barcelona, Carrer del Carme
      • Contain
      • Stabilize
      • Coat
      • Thicken
  • Adaptation: Responding to the Environment
    • 11. A Cell, Though Not a Prison
      • Two or Three Things We Know about It
      • Cellular Traffic
      • The Membrane Has No Lack of Potential
    • 12. Putting Drug Delivery on Controlled Release
      • Meeting Up, but Where and When?
      • Encapsulation-Decapsulation: Liposomes
      • Swelling-Deswelling: Excitable Polymers
      • Best of Luck!
    • 13. Perpetual Sensitivity: Granular Matter
      • Age-Old Matter, Fresh Topic
      • Complex Matter, but Why?
      • The Paradox of the Missing Mass
      • Key to the Vault of Sensitivity
    • 14. Liquefaction of the “Blood” of St. Januarius
      • Sensitive “Blood”: Imitations
      • Complex Fluids: A Feast of Sensitivities
      • Transformation by Touch
      • The “Blood” of St. Januarius: A Yield-Stress Fluid?
      • Natural versus Supernatural
      • Premeditation versus Chance
  • Epilogue
  • Bonus Tracks
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Acknowledgments
  • Credits
  • Index of Sensitive Materials
  • Index of Proper Names

Recent News

From Our Blog

Cover: Ruin the Sacred Truths: Poetry and Belief from the Bible to the Present, by Harold Bloom, from Harvard University Press

Remembering Harold Bloom

Harold Bloom, the literary critic who championed the Western canon, died at age 89 last month. Lindsay Waters, HUP Executive Editor for the Humanities, looks back on their publishing history, their friendship, and Bloom’s great contributions to the literary community

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library ( extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.