Condensed matter is held together by the negatively charged electrons acting as a quantum glue that bonds the positive nuclei together. The basic physics ingredients are electrostatics and quantum mechanics, and yet a bewildering variety of physical behaviors emerge and are displayed by materials. How do we know how the atoms are bonded together in a material? Can our physical theories describe macroscopic collections of atoms and electrons? I will give a glimpse into these subjects through some examples: a few milestones in materials physics, why high-energy synchrotrons play a vital role in our being able to “see” low-energy condensed matter systems, and a collaborative project at Yale where interatomic bonds are intentionally stretched on the picometer scale in order to reshuffle electrons among specific atomic orbitals.