The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives



Sometimes explosive, often delightful, occasionally poisonous, but always fascinating: the secret lives of liquids, from one of our best-known scientists

A series of glasses of transparent liquids is in front of you: but which will quench your thirst and which will kill you? And why? Why does one liquid make us drunk, and another power a jumbo jet?

From the bestselling author of Stuff Matters comes a fascinating tour of these surprising or sinister substances - the droplets, heartbeats and ocean waves we all encounter every day.

Structured around a plane journey, encountering water, wine, oil and more, Miodownik shows that liquids are agents of death and destruction as well as substances of wonder and fascination. His unique brand of scientific storytelling brings them and their mysterious properties alive in a captivating new way.

'A truly delightful read' Jim Al-Khalili, author of Paradox

'An exhilarating, eye-opening ride'
Philip Ball, science writer and author of H2O

'Exciting, anarchic and surprising' Katy Guest, The Guardian

'A thrilling read, from start to finish'
Tim Radford, author of The Consolations of Physics


  • Miodownik packs this delightful book with so much 'well, I never knew that' information. Not only does he know his stuff but, just as importantly, he knows how to tell a good story. A truly delightful read
    Jim Al-Khalili, author of Paradox

About the author

Mark Miodownik

A Financial Times Master of Science and chosen by The Times as one of the 100 most influential scientists in the UK, Mark Miodownik is Professor of Materials and Society at University College London, where he is also Director of the Institute of Making. He is the author of the book Stuff Matters – a New York Times bestseller which won the Royal Society Winton Prize – and Liquid, which was shortlisted for the same prize. He presents BBC TV and radio programmes on science and engineering such as Everyday Miracles and How It Works.
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