States of Matter, States of Mind is an easy-to-read introduction to the way the physical world is put together and stays together. The book presents the fundamental ideas and particles of the makeup of the universe to enable understanding of matter and why it behaves in the way it does. Written in an engaging manner, the book explains some of the intricate details and grand schemes of life and the universe, by making analogies with common everyday examples. For example, the recipe for a cake tells us nothing of how good the cake tastes, but is a model of the food, and a scientific model is no closer to the reality of the materials than a recipe is to the mouth-watering flavor of the cake.
Illustrated with helpful cartoons, this book provides a vast knowledge of atoms and atmospheres. The first several chapters introduce terms and fundamental ideas while later chapters deal successively with particles and systems, from the electron to the universe as a system. Each new idea introduced builds upon the last. A user-friendly bibliography provides references for further reading.
"… Barton presents … a bran-tub of ideas, which the reader can dip into at will to pull out prizes. … eminently enjoyable … strongly recommended to physicists and non-physicists alike."
"… a good Christmas present … this unpretentious but happy book … Barton is extraordinarily good at developing a sense of how scientists think and refine their vision of reality … virtually anyone … will find much to entertain and instruct them."
"Without an equation in sight, it deals with the conceptual models we use to describe everything from the building blocks of an atom or the behaviour of complex mixtures of molecules to the evolution of universes. … good background reading for a keen student trying to get to grips with modern physical chemistry … offers teachers new approaches to what they teach … How many states of matter are there? Barton makes it clear that the possibilities are endless. It all depends on how you perceive things."
"… excellent book … The author has very definitely succeeded in his quest … Each of the 15 chapters ends with a very helpful set of notes … an essential addition to the school library."
-Gordon Miller, School Science Review
"… sets out the basic ideas of physics and chemistry with considerable clarity and in a style suitable for non-scientists, and science students, … science teachers will find it full of useful ways of presenting scientific ideas …"
-ASLIB Book Guide
"… a very illuminating read. Light, energy, and foce are the primary concerns of this volume which is almost equally involved with semiotics and language."
-The Beacon, November/December 1998
States of matter. Language of matter. Patterns in matter. Unusual matter. Thermodynamic matter. Interacting matter. Fundamental matter. Atomic matter. Chemical matter. Molecular matter. Disordered matter. Mixed matter. Ordered matter. Interfacial matter. Soft matter. Postscript: states of mind. Bibliography. Index.