I want a story. The story about one little pig, and the wolf.

I’ll need you to help me with it, OK?

Yeah.

i-e6e8a784e2e6b2b04b784bd9cbf9c36f-sm_writing.jpg

OK, once upon a time, there was one little pig, and he… What did he do?

He built a house out of straw.

Right. He was a little bit silly, so he built himself a house out of straw. Which is a terrible material to build a house out of.

So, then, one day, a big wolf came along, and said [scary wolf voice] “Little pig, little pig, let me in!”

But he was a NICE wolf.

Right, so he said [scary wolf voice] “Little pig, little pig, let me in! I’m a nice wolf, but I sound like this because this is how wolves talk.” and because he was a nice wolf, the little pig let him into the house, and offered him something to eat, which was…?

No, the wolf wasn’t hungry. He just wanted to watch tv.

OK, right, the wolf wasn’t hungry, so they just sat down to watch tv, and–

No, no– first they have to make the tv. Out of… What’s our tv made out of?

A tv is made out of glass, and metal, and plastic.

OK, so they made that. How do you make glass?

Well, to make glass, you take some sand, and get it super, super hot, and then it melts, and turns into glass.

OK. So they did that.

Right, so the pig and the wolf made some glass–

No, first they have to go to the beach.

OK, fine, first the pig and the wolf went to the beach, and they got some sand, then they built a special oven to get the sand super, super hot, so it melted and turned into glass. then they took a big piece of glass, and made it into a tv.

Wait, what about the rest of the stuff. What’s metal made out of?

You make metal by taking special rocks, and getting them super, super hot. Then they melt, and turn into metal.

OK. So they went to Rocky Creek.

Right, so the pig and the wolf went to Rocky Creek, and got some rocks to make metal.

Because the pig’s house is right next to Rocky Creek. So they went there to get rocks, and brought them back to the house. Rocky Creek is close to the house.

It’s not too far from the beach, either, apparently.

Yeah!

Right, so they melted the rocks to make metal.

No, first they had to go to the forest to get some logs. Then they brought the logs back and put them in a, a, a, fire thing, with a fire, and they made a big fire and got it hot.

And then they melted the rocks, and made some metal, and used the metal and the glass that they made earlier to make a tv. And then they went inside and watched tv, and what did they watch?

Cars 2.

Right, because pigs and wolves love Lightning McQueen and Mater. So they watched Cars 2, and then they were hungry. Because it’s a lot of work making glass and metal to build a tv so you can watch Cars 2. So they made dinner, and what did they have for dinner?

No, no– first they have to make the stove. Out of… What’s our stove made of?

————————–

Look for my forthcoming book, How to Explain Materials Science to Your Three-Year-Old, available whenever we get to the end of this story. Which might be some time.

Comments

  1. #1 Miss MSE (@MissMSE)
    April 6, 2012

    I love it! Obviously :)

  2. #2 Matt Leifer
    April 6, 2012

    Actually, this is not a bad premise for a book.

    There is quite a good series about materials science airing on the BBC at the moment. Here is the first episode: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01fkc5n

    Perhaps you could watch it with Steelykid, whilst simultaneously teaching her about how to use proxy servers and VPNs to get around the iPlayer country detection.

  3. #3 Buddha Buck
    April 6, 2012

    Luckily, they still had some metal left over from making the TV…

  4. #4 Susan B.
    April 6, 2012

    There’s a book about this, called The Toaster Project. The author decided to try to build a toaster from scratch, and the book documents his successes and failures, with some nice discussions of the science and economics of it.

  5. #5 Onkel Bob
    April 6, 2012

    They ain’t melting metal with an ordinary wood fire, they need to convert that wood into charcoal. So they had to build a charcoal kiln…

  6. #6 ScentOfViolets
    April 6, 2012

    That would be a fantastic book! It goes without saying of course that materials science is perceived to be the unglamorous cousin of particle physics. But after all is said and done, what have the last fifty years of particle physics given us? Particles. Materials science, otoh, is extremely useful.

    And there’s a bit of precedent too – Asimov had one called “The Search for the Elements”, though of course it didn’t go into the chemistry of plastics (though I think both subjects were covered in separate books in the Time/Life science series.)

  7. #7 Mizuki
    April 6, 2012

    Material Science brings persons the comfortable environment.Though the hard study and endeavor is necessary as far as arriving at there,we will get a variety of wealthy knowledge.Also,I might understand that to study itself is the necessary and sufficient condition for humanity.The story might says to ourselves that the technology and the environment is possible for coexistence in an constant relation looking like showing persons to how to consider uncertainty principle.

  8. #8 Mizuki
    April 6, 2012

    Material Science brings persons the comfortable environment.Though the hard study and endeavor is necessary as far as arriving at there,we will get a variety of wealthy knowledge.Also,I might understand that to study itself is the necessary and sufficient condition for humanity.The story might say to ourselves that the technology and the environment is possible for coexistence in an constant relation looking like showing persons to how to consider uncertainty principle.

  9. #9 Mizuki
    April 6, 2012

    Material Science brings persons the comfortable environment.Though the hard study and endeavor is necessary as far as arriving at there,we will get a variety of wealthy knowledge.Also,I might understand that to study itself is the necessary and sufficient condition for humanity.The story might say to ourselves that the technology and the environment is possible for coexistence in an constant relation looking like showing persons to how to consider uncertainty principle.

  10. #10 Wilson
    April 8, 2012

    This is wonderful! Thank you!

    And I would definitely buy that book.

  11. #11 Jolyon Bloomfield
    April 9, 2012

    Love it, absolutely love it. Please write? ;-)

  12. #12 Darth_Loki
    April 10, 2012

    Until materials came in useable forms, invention was hardly even possible.

    Make a telegraph using the materials from the time of Democritus 400BC.

    Wire what is that?

    Ideas leap the centuries, invention waits for materials.

  13. #13 hande
    April 10, 2012

    can i preorder the book? great idea~