Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

The Most Interdisciplinary Physical Science

At Franklin & Marshall College we recognize that the study of materials can lead to new sources of energy, to new devices, or to a more sophisticated understanding of our environment.

We also recognize that it is the fundamental principles underlying the relationship between the atomic structure of matter and the properties of matter that allow us to understand not only how to design new materials for the future, but allow us to continue our understanding of the very basis of the nature of matter.

This is our relationship to the liberal arts—primarily we study matter for the insights that we obtain into the workings of Mother Nature.

And, we learn how to exploit these insights to make new devices, to understand what materials were used by ancient cultures, to learn about the processes that occurred in the earth's crust millions of years ago, or simply to understand why certain compounds are found (and exploited for their usefulness) in the earth's crust, whereas, other, similar compounds exist only in our laboratories.


We collaborate with scientists at a variety of institutions, such as:

  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Michigan
  • Messiah College
  • University of Vermont
  • Elizabethtown College


  • Allison
  • Materials Courses at F&M
  • The following courses are part of the core content of Chemistry, Physics, and Earth and Environment:

    • CHM 222. Inorganic Chemistry: Structure and Stability
    • GEO 321. Mineralogy
    • PHY 442. Condensed Matter Physics

    Other topics courses pertinent to materials are likely to be offered in a given year.