José Bico

José Bico is Associate Professor at ESPCI-PSL (Paris Science Lettres Université). He works at the PMMH (Physics and Mechanics of Heterogenous Media) lab of ESPCI-PSL in Sorbonne Université.

  • Hidden Wonders

    Hidden Wonders

    The Subtle Dialogue Between Physics and Elegance

    Etienne Guyon, José Bico, Étienne Reyssat, and Benoît Roman

    The hidden elegance in everyday objects and physical mechanisms, from crumpled paper to sandcastles.

    Hidden Wonders focuses on the objects that populate our everyday life—crumpled paper, woven fabric, a sand pile—but looks at them with a physicist's eye, revealing a hidden elegance in mundane physical mechanisms. In six chapters—Builders, Creating Shapes, Building with Thread, From Sand to Glass, Matter in Motion, and Fractures—the authors present brief stories, set in locales ranging from the Eiffel Tower to a sandcastle, that illustrate the little wonders hidden in the ordinary. A simple experiment that readers can perform at home concludes each story. More than 200 illustrations bring the stories to life.

    Through these stories and images, the authors explain the amazing mechanisms that govern the elements that surround us, offering a close look at the subtle dialogue of form, force, and function. They connect the underlying physics to a range of applications: crumpled graphene sheets that may be used in batteries, wet-hair physics that must be taken into account in the manufacturing of mechanical microdevices, pine cone mechanisms used in contemporary architecture, and more. Each chapter offers striking two-page spreads of text and images.

    • Paperback $29.95