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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

The Secret Life of Number 8 by Neil Broom

Before retiring, Neil Broom taught at the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Auckland. He is now an Emeritus Professor and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Inspired by a piece of rusted iron, the well-known ‘number 8 wire,’ Neil has written a book that reveals the mysterious and quite wonderful world of commonplace materials. Written thankfully in a reader-friendly style and keeping jargon to a minimum, Neil explains the different structures of various materials and why they might be useful or material to avoid. There are many questions he answers. Why are some materials so strong while others are weak? Why are some solids malleable while others are brittle? Why do some metals corrode while others don’t? Why does temperature have such a dramatic impact on some materials?

The Secret Life of Number 8 is the perfect book for anyone who is curious about many commonplace materials, and thankfully, you don’t need to have studied towards a degree to read or enjoy this book – it is written with a general readership in mind. It’s also wonderful to see numerous photographs throughout the well-written text that help bring the book to life. A well-constructed book written by a well-known expert – the perfect combination!

Reviewer: Iain McKenzie

Mary Egan Publishing


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