Stuff Matters: Winner of the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books

Wednesday 4th February 2015 @ 19:00

Non-Member: £12.00 ; Staff: £5.00 ; Student: £3.00

Mark Miodownik, author of Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials that Shape Our Man-made World.

The new date of this lecture replaces the earlier published date of 27 January 2015.


Through our close relationship with Winton, we have been able to secure a unique chance to hear from the winning author of this prestigious prize celebrating outstanding popular science books from around the world.


Professor Mark Miodownik, author of Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials that Shape Our Man-made World, won the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books in November 2014.

He has kindly accepted our invitation to speak at this Friends lecture.

Prof. Miodownik's Stuff Matters beat five other titles covering topics ranging from biomedical innovations to the elements that have changed our world.

The judges decided unanimously to award Prof Miodownik the £25,000 prize. They commented: “A contemporary, sideways look at everyday stuff. Miodownik writes with a passionate ability to explain each subject. It’s packed full of excellent stories and is the only science book out there where the author gets stabbed on the London Underground!”.

He said he was staggered and really surprised to win.

"I feel honoured, happy and overwhelmed, it does feel dream like to me, these things don't normally happen. When I started, I had no idea how to write."
His fascination with materials began after he was stabbed in the back with a steel razor blade "not much bigger than a postage stamp" by a mugger.

He became obsessed with how such a small object could be so sharp, strong and capable of easily cutting through five layers of clothes.

"This stuff around us is speaking through me. Materials are not inert things, I hope I have given them a voice in this book. I think it's an important story."

Being "hands on", he said, was a crucial part of how we interacted with the world.

Chairwoman of the judges, Prof Nicola Clayton, from the University of Cambridge, said the work was enthralling and written with "great passion and insight".

She said: "It's a really inspiring book. I think the biggest test for me is if you read a popular science book and it's not in your area - I'm a psychologist - you read a book like that and think, 'If I had my time again perhaps I should have done a degree in that.'

"He explained everything really well in an enthusiastic way and, let's face it, not many books start with a stabbing and have a chapter on chocolate," Prof Clayton added.

Watch an interview with Mark here and listen to an excerpt of his winning book.


Optionally followed by supper (this can be booked on the event booking form).
After the lecture a Friends' Table has been reserved at a local restaurant to entertain the speaker and for any of the audience who would like to join us to continue the evening's discussion. A two-course fixed price supper is served including wine, coffee and service charge.
Or if you have already booked for the event and now want to join us for supper Book Supper now

Venue: Blackett Lecture Theatre 1 , Imperial College London

Campus Map reference 6
on the Imperial College London Map