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Posted: December 27, 2007
The top ten advances in materials science
(Nanowerk News) Materials Today magazine (published by Elsevier Ltd., Kidlington, Oxford, U.K.) has assembled a list of the top ten advances in materials science over the last 50 years. Here’s what they released:
We thought long and hard. We sought the advice of our editorial advisory panel and asked leaders in the field to add their own contributions. We hope the results are interesting and thought-provoking.
In making the final selection, we have tried to focus on the advances that have either changed our lives or are in the process of changing them. This is arguable, of course. Should an advance alter all our daily lives, or does fundamentally changing the research arena count? What about discoveries that can be clearly attributed to a certain date and investigator, or those developments that have come about incrementally through the efforts of many? Where does materials science stop and electronics, physics, or chemistry begin? And how do you assess the value of things like plastic bags? Undeniably they are a boon for carrying shopping but now also an item of scorn for energy and waste reasons.
Instead of ruling any of these out, we’ve tried to come up with a balanced selection. In doing so, we hope to start some debate about the discoveries that most mark out today’s materials science. Let us know what we’ve missed. If you’re incredulous that organic electronics or high-temperature superconductors aren’t in the top ten, tell us why. Should Kevlar, Post-it notes, float glass, or F1 racing tires be in the list? What will define the next 50 years of materials science?
If you believe materials scientists are unsung heroes, that our work goes unnoticed and unheralded, here is your ammunition. With our time limit of 50 years, the list is of immediate relevance. It is about how materials science is affecting our world today, now.
1. International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors
2. Scanning probe microscopes
3. Giant magnetoresistive effect
4. Semiconductor lasers and LEDs
5. National Nanotechnology Initiative
6. Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics
7. Materials for Li ion batteries
8. Carbon nanotubes
9. Soft lithography
See original press release in its entirety on the Materials Today Web site: http://www.materialstoday.com/archive/2008/11-01/top10.html