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  • Writer's pictureNed Patton

“The String and Glue of our World” is PUBLISHED

It gives me unbelievable pleasure to announce to everyone that “The String and Glue of our World” is now published. I got messages from my publisher, McFarland Books, on Wednesday of last week letting me know that the book was released and is now in stock at their site.

This post is going to be somewhat short, but what I thought I would do is to give everyone a taste of the book. In a post a couple of weeks ago, I let everyone see the Table of Contents, so this time I thought that I would give you the first few introductory paragraphs of the book, so that you can see for yourselves. So, here we go – Chapter 1.

"1 A Brief History of Composites

It all began some 13.8 billion years ago or so when there was a really large explosion and all matter and energy in the universe came into being. No? More seriously, all composite materials have an inspiration or analog if you will in mother nature. And, of course, all of that started with the Big Bang and the aftermath of that which created all of the known elements that man has found in nature – plus all of the stars, galaxies, etc. And many billions of years later, our solar system and Earth itself. And since all composites have some sort of analog or inspiration in mother nature, I thought I would start there.

So, to get started, let’s get back to composites. What was the first completely man-made composite material you ask? Concrete – one of the first man made composites – came about when early Middle Eastern builders circa 6500 BC discovered that if they crushed and burned limestone, then ground it into a paste with water, it would bind sand and gravel together and make bigger, stronger rocks than the limestone, gravel, and sand individually (1). And they could shape it into bricks and stack them to make structures. Or, as the Egyptians did circa 3000 BC, eliminate the gravel and use a slurry of sand, fired limestone, and water as a mortar to put together large stones and bricks made of dried mud and straw. The Pyramids still exist today after 5000 years, so these early materials had a very long lifespan.

This is in fact the definition of composites. Mix two (or more) different materials together in the right way and in the right amounts and you get a new material that has more useful properties than each of the different materials does alone. So, this is where we start building from the base of the trunk of the semantic tree – an understanding of what exactly a composite material is. Now let’s go on to build the rest of the trunk and then the branches and leaves and see if we can get this thing to flower and bear fruit for us."

This is where I start and the book builds on this idea of learning as a semantic tree, first the trunk, then the branches, and then you can put leaves and fruit on it because you have learned the basics – what I like to call “first principles”. That is the way I learned about composites and why I was able to write this book. And it is the way I approach every new thing – learn it from the ground up based on some very basic physical principles, and since I like to make things, why materials behave the way they do, starting with the periodic table and understanding each element and its unique properties.

I have found that this approach to learning reaps tremendous rewards for you in life. And this is true not only of engineering and physics, it is also true about all human endeavors, including interactions with others. I have said and will keep saying that the day I quit learning is the day I die, and I mean it.

OK – enough philosophy for now. If you want to get your hands on a signed copy of the book, just go to this link on my website: I have my 10 “author copies”, and I’m having 50 more shipped to me so that I can sell them. The ones I sell from the website will be signed copies, so if you want a signed one, buy it from me.

My 50 copies to sell arrive on Thursday, Aug. 17, so I will be ready to ship them probably on Friday this week. I have to charge sales tax for any that I deliver to addresses in California, but if you don’t live in California, all you pay is the cost of the book ($29.95) plus $8 shipping. I believe I can even ship internationally, and since I have the books in my possession I'll weigh one with the bubble envelopes I bought as well as the address labels.

Of course, if you want to buy one from Amazon, it is of course on their site, as well as the Barnes and Noble site, or you can even buy a copy from McFarland Books. Those will not have my signature on them, but if you’re Amazon Prime then shipping is free. And, from the ad on the Barnes and Noble site it also appears that shipping is free there as well – they must be competing with Amazon to try to stay in business.

This is incredibly exciting for me, so I wanted to share my enthusiasm with all of you. Those of you that buy the book, please send me a message about whether you like the book or not. I am of course working on two more books, so feedback from my readers will be very valuable.

See y’all next week.


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