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Breaking it Down

Studies of how things fall apart may lead to materials that don’t

Suppose there was a fourth little pig. This one was a physicist. Unlike his brother the engineer, who built a house out of tried-and-true bricks, the physicist pig chose a building material by doing calculations based on fundamental principles. He settled on a substance made from silicon and oxygen, an abundant material with high bond strength and the aesthetic bonus of transparency. It was safe from huffing and puffing. But then the wolf learned to throw stones.

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