Much of the work that we do in materials studies utilizes techniques and theories that were traditionally part of another discipline.
For example, the development of new photovoltaic cells requires an understanding of band theory, a model used to understand the properties of metals that was traditionally a part of physics. Likewise, the development of new types of catalysts from mineral precursors requires an understanding of solid solutions, an area typically in the bailiwick of the geologists.
Indeed, the study of materials is probably the most broadly interdisciplinary of any of the physical sciences.
We are even more fortunate to have students who participate in this research, and, as a result of the inherently great breadth of the area, graduate with a multi-faceted understanding of the nature of matter and the means to exploit that understanding. These students also become coauthors of the publications that result from the research, and, importantly, they become part of a community of interdisciplinary scholars. They share their findings at group meetings, national meetings, and in informal conversations with their peers who share their passion.
We have no formal materials studies major or program, but we do have exciting research, interesting courses, and opportunities to converse with one another and other experts about materials.
On these pages you will find information about the research opportunities at F&M, information about sources of information about materials science, a list of texts and papers that we feel are fundamental to the development of a basic understanding of our work, links to external repositories of job opportunities and research developments at other institutions, and a schedule of seminars here at F&M and at our neighboring institutions.