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Soap, Science, and Flat-screen Tvs

Liquid crystals had a controversial discovery at the end of the nineteenth century but were later accepted as a 'fourth state' of matter, and finally used throughout the world in modern displays and new materials. This book explains the fascinating science in accessible terms, and puts it into social, political, and historical perspectives.
Soap, Science, and Flat-screen Tvs
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A History of Liquid Crystals.
Tim Sluckin was born in London in 1951, and educated in Cambridge and Nottingham, where he received his Ph.D in 1975 for a thesis on the theoretical physics of liquid helium. After several postdoctoral appointments in the USA and in the UK, he was appointed a lecturer in applied mathematics at the University of Southampton (UK) in 1981. Since 1995 he has been Professor of Applied Mathematical Physics at the University of Southampton. He has also spent extended periods of sabbatical leave abroad, including spells in France (Grenoble), Italy (Milan) and Israel (Haifa). His main research interests have been in mathematical and physical aspects of liquid crystals, but he also has interests in other fluid phenomena. Another of his interests is mathematical population biology, including, in particular, problems to do with human prehistory. More recently he has also published significantly in the history of science.
1. Introduction: from carrots to displays ; 2. Crystals that flow: fact or fiction ; 3. Liquid crystals: where do they come from? ; 4. La Gloire Francaise ; 5. The meeting that wasn't and the meeting that was ; 6. The threads of life ; 7. Winds of war ; 8. Renaissance ; 9. An unlikely story ; 10. The light dawns in the west ; 11. The sun rises in the east ; 12. The new world of liquid crystals
... engaging monograph ... I recommend this cultured chronicle of the people and history of a delicate state of matter that has had a profound influence on the technologies of communications and displays. Derry W. Jones, Contemporary Physics This is a truly stimulating look at the history and science of a little-understood phase of matter and a material that affects our lives every day [...] a truly useful addition to the pedagogical literature on liquid crystals. Peter Collings, Physics Today It provides a perceptive insight into the evolution of the important area of soft matter and the development from this of an impressive display technology. Geoffrey Luckhurst, Chemistry World The authors delightful weaving of the influence of first individuals and then commercial companies with the advances in science pertinent to developing displays makes for fascinating and entertaining reading. Gerald R. Van Hecke, Science This is a readable introduction to an influential field, concentrating on personalities within political eras, and demonstrating that as complicated as the science might get, it is still a human endeavor, with all the attendant ambition, misunderstanding, dead ends and eventual enlightenment. Rob Hardy, The Dispatch The liquid crystal display has changed the world and will continue to do so. Soap, Science, and Flat-Screen TVs is a true and valuable history of its first 100 years, embracing as it does both the scientific literature and the history and socio-economic background of the individuals and institutions that make up the story. Bill Crossland, Times Higher Education Supplement
The terms 'liquid crystal' or 'liquid crystal display' (LCD) are well-known in the context of flat-screen televisions, but the properties and history of liquid crystals are little understood. This book tells the story of liquid crystals, from their controversial discovery at the end of the nineteenth century, to their eventual acceptance as another state of matter to rank alongside gases, liquids and solids. As their story unfolds, the scientists involved and their
works are put into illuminating broader socio-political contexts. In recent years, liquid crystals have had a major impact on the display industry, culminating in the now widely available flat-screen televisions; this development is described in detail over three chapters, and the basic science
behind it is explained in simple terms accessible to a general reader. New applications of liquid crystals in materials, bio-systems, medicine and technology are also explained.The authors' approach to the subject defines a new genre of popular science books. The historical background to the scientific discoveries is given in detail, and the personal communications between the scientists involved are explored. The book tells the story of liquid crystals, but it also shows
that scientific discovery and exploitation relies on human interactions, and the social and political environments in which they work.
`Full of charming and not widely known historical anecdotes, this book describes the drama of liquid crystals science from its early days to modern technical applications. One of the most informative and entertaining pieces of popular science history I have seen in years.'
Alexander Y. Grosberg, New York University
`Visual communication became transportable through the discovery of that strange state of matter, the liquid crystal. This history is a fascinating account of that discovery and its development and gives considerable insight into the social mechanisms of science in general. The authors do not evade the science itself, treating it lightly but appropriately. Altogether, a detailed, informative, and enthralling account of a crucial part of techonlogical and
scientific history.'
Peter Atkins, Oxford University
`Dunmur and Sluckin tell an absorbing and colourful story of an area of science that is both rich at the fundamental level and that has brought some of the major new technologies of our age. They follow the twists and turns, and the conflicts, of the science and of the people pursuing it. It is satisfying too when the authors step back from time to time to give the modern view and therefore the resolution of the difficulties of the early protagonists. Most
Mark Warner, University of Cambridge
Presents science and history behind a familiar and everyday technology
Puts the scientific story into socio-political context
Explains the basic optics, physics and chemistry of liquid crystals
Provides a case study in the development of a technology
Oxford University Press
Tim Sluckin, David A. Dunmur
Publication Date
Short Title
Oxford University Press
A History of Liquid Crystals
Place of Publication
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Professional and Scholarly

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