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Posted: March 12, 2007

Nanotechnology included twice in top 50 materials moments in history

(Nanowerk News) More than 4,200 materials science and engineering professionals voted for the Greatest Materials Moments at the TMS 2007 Annual Meeting two weeks ago.
Greatest Materials Moments in history
The Periodic Table of Elements devised by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1864 was voted the number one materials moment, the indispensable reference tool for those in the field.
Sumio Iijima's discovery of carbon nanotubes in 1991 was voted number 36 and Richard Feynman's presentation "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" at a 1959 meeting of the American Physical Society came in as number 48.
The complete list of the Top 50 Materials Moments in history can be found on its own website.
The remaining Top Ten moments were voted as:
No. 2 Fe Smelting
Around 3500 B.C., Egyptians smelt iron for the first time, using tiny amounts, mostly for ornamental or ceremonial purposes. This is the first processing secret of what will become the world’s dominant metallurgical material.
No. 3 Transistor
In 1948, John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley invent the transistor. This becomes the building block for all modern electronics and the foundation for microchip and computer technology.
No. 4 Invention of Glass
Approximately 2200 B.C., northwestern Iranians invent glass. This becomes the second greatest nonmetallic engineering material (following ceramics).
No. 5 Optical Microscopy
In 1668, Anton van Leeuwenhoek develops optical microscopy, capable of magnifications of 200 times and greater. This enables study of the natural world invisible to the human eye.
No. 6 Modern Concrete
In 1755, John Smeaton invents modern concrete (hydraulic cement), which introduces the dominant construction material of the modern age.
No. 7 Crucible Steel Making
Around 300 B.C., metal workers in south India develop crucible steel making, which produces “wootz” steel. This becomes famous as Damascus sword steel hundreds of years later, inspiring artisans, blacksmiths and metallurgists for many generations.
No. 8 Cu Extraction and Casting
Approximately 5000 B.C., people in the region of modern Turkey discover that liquid copper can be extracted from malachite and azurite, and that the molten metal can be cast into different shapes. Extractive metallurgy is introduced.
No. 9 X-ray Diffraction
In 1912, Max von Laue discovers the diffraction of x-rays by crystals. This creates the means to characterize crystal structures and inspires the development of the theory of diffraction by crystals.
No. 10 Bessemer Process
In 1856, Henry Bessemer patents a bottom-blown acid process for melting low-carbon iron. This leads to the era of cheap, large tonnage steel, enabling massive progress in transportation, building construction and general industrialization.
Source: The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society
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