Maikel Kuijpers
Maikel Kuijpers
Maikel Kuijpers is assistant professor in Archaeology at Leiden University. He looks at mankind from the perspective of material culture. He investigates our handling of materials and how people have developed skills and knowledge about materials throughout the centuries. For The Correspondent he writes about four fundamental materials of our modern civilization: concrete, steel, plastic and fertiliser.Source
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We can’t stop using steel. Here’s how we can make it the foundation of a new, sustainable iron age

We can’t stop using steel. Here’s how we can make it the foundation of a new, sustainable iron age

We build everything from railroads to lunchboxes with steel, and for good reason: it’s strong, flexible and easily mass produced. But the iron production necessary to create steel is majorly polluting the planet. And it’s almost impossible to replace the material because we need it to keep building. So how do we move forward? Henry Bessemer was never cut out for school. He had better things to do, so he never finished. Instead, by the age of 17, he had gone into business for himself – as an inventor. By the time he was 30, he had invented the sugar cane extruder, a process for making gold...

Sep 13
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Plastic is a brilliant material. But our relationship with it is trash

Plastic is a brilliant material. But our relationship with it is trash

Want to challenge yourself? Try not touching anything made of plastic for a whole day. There’s a good chance you slept on a mattress with plastic in it last night. You were woken up by the alarm clock on your smartphone, about half of which is made of plastic. You pulled the charger out of the plug socket without being electrocuted because all the electricity in your house is enclosed in a layer of protective plastic. First things first: have a shower, brush your teeth, get a cup of coffee. That showerhead contains plastic, and the shower hose is made of plastic, just like the shower...

Sep 13
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