Grades: 6th - 8th
Materials science is an interdisciplinary field concerned with the understanding and application of the properties of matter. Materials scientists study the connections between the underlying structure of material, its properties, its processing methods, and its performance in applications.
Scholars have long classified eras of ancient civilizations by their progress in materials science, coining such terms the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. What is known about ancient cultures, especially those without written records, often comes from a scientific examination of the artifacts they left behind. Advances in materials science often went hand-in-hand with other cultural developments. In many cases it was the development of new materials that enabled advances in other realms of human accomplishment. When neighboring nations and cultures came into conflict, whether economic or military, dominance was often achieved by employing more advanced materials.
Although its importance goes back to antiquity, the concept of material science, as a discipline of study, is rather new. Educational programs at the college level now abound and career opportunities in this field are very rewarding for those with the passion and ability to pursue them.
Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Fusion, "Living in a Material World" (2020). Fusion. 3.