Materials science and engineering is a multidisciplinary subject drawing on all branches of science and combining them with manufacturing technology and design to solve engineering problems. Materials scientists study the relationships between the processing, structure and properties of materials and the performance of engineering components manufactured from them.
New materials are the sparks that fire technological revolutions. Sixty years ago nylon revolutionized the fashion industry; thirty years ago the silicon chip revolutionized information technology; ten years ago biomedical materials began a revolution in healthcare. New horizons are extending at both ends of the size spectrum: from microscopic devices performing surgery at the end of a cardiologist’s catheter, to huge lightweight space stations and giant 800-seat passenger aircraft.
For a great in-depth look at materials science and engineering, check out NOVA’s “Making Stuff” series. Boise State University College of Engineering dean and Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering co-founder, Amy Moll was a key influence in creating the “Making Stuff” series. “Without Amy’s guidance and dedication, I don’t think ‘Making Stuff’ would have been possible,” said Richard Souza, manager of education and outreach for the Materials Research Society, which has been involved with the NOVA production from its inception.
Careers in materials science and engineering can be found in just about any industry from manufacturing to nuclear energy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, materials engineers are in high demand to design uses for new materials in traditional industries, such as aerospace manufacturing, and in industries focused on new medical or scientific products. Depending on the industry and level of education (B.S., M.S., or Ph.D.,) salaries can range from $70,000 to $150,000. Find out more about salaries and employment trends on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.
You will want to be a part of shaping the future of materials once you find out how fascinating materials science and engineering is. Find out more about science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics and how important these fields are to our modern world by reading Diversity in STEAM Magazine. Just about every industry is in need of materials scientists and the job market continues to grow.
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Boise State offers many opportunities to learn more about materials science: