Etienne Guyon

Étienne Guyon is Emeritus Professor at ESPCI (Paris Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution), a fellow of the American Physical society and of the Institute of Physics, Honorary Director of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, and coauthor of Built on Sand: The Science of Granular Materials (MIT Press). 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
  • Built on Sand

    Built on Sand

    The Science of Granular Materials

    Etienne Guyon, Jean-Yves Delenne, and Farhang Radjai

    Explaining the science contained in a simple assembly of grains—the most abundant form of matter present on Earth.

    Granular media—composed of vast amounts of grains, consolidated or not—constitute the most abundant form of solid matter on Earth. Granular materials assemble in disordered configurations scientists often liken to a bag of marbles. Made of macroscopic particles rather than molecules, they defy the standard scheme of classification in terms of solid, liquid, and gas. Granular materials provide a model relevant to various domains of research, including engineering, physics, and biology. William Blake famously wished “To See a World in a Grain of Sand”; in this book, pioneering researchers in granular matter explain the science hidden behind simple grains, shedding light on collective behavior in disordered settings in general.

    The authors begin by describing the single grain with its different origins, shapes, and sizes, then examine grains in piled or stacked form. They explain the packing fraction of granular media, a crucial issue that bears on the properties displayed in practical applications; explore small-scale deformations in piles of disordered grains, with particular attention to friction; and present theories of various modes of disorder. Along the way, they discuss such concepts as force chains, arching effects, wet grains, sticky contacts, and inertial effects. Drawing on recent numerical simulations as well as classical concepts developed in physics and mechanics, the book offers an accessible introduction to a rapidly developing field.

    • Hardcover $39.95