By Douglas J. Fehlen
The Science of the Everyday
Materials science is a vital area of study that has a dramatic impact on our world. The objects we use in our daily lives have been developed based on an understanding of different types of matter existing on Earth. This has been true from early humans' development of stone and metal tools to modern day technological developments in computers and other devices.
Materials science entails learning about the properties of different forms of matter and how substances interact with one another. Students enrolled in academic programs examine the structure of different materials and learn about ways in which they can be changed. These concepts may be used to identify uses for existing substances or to develop entirely new materials for various practical purposes.
Materials science programs are well suited to individuals who have an interest in mathematics, chemistry, physics and related fields. Applications from these disciplines are often important toward developing an understanding of various substances, including how they might be manipulated or combined with other materials to yield discoveries useful within industry.
Nanotechnology, mineralogy, biotechnology, metallurgy, ceramography - these are only some of the professional areas in which graduates of materials science programs might seek employment. This wide range of career options results from the fact that the concepts individuals learn in materials science programs have a role to play in many different industrial processes.
Materials science professionals may work for companies that produce computers, consumer goods, medical equipment, communications devices and other products. Job functions within these career areas may vary considerably depending upon an individual's background and experience. Positions can range from materials scientist to manufacturing supervisor and process engineer to lab technician.
If you're interested in the chemical makeup of different types of matter and how substances can be made into useful products, materials science may be right for you. Colleges and universities throughout the country offer degree programs in the discipline with specialization areas that can allow you to pursue individual career goals.
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