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The 'Musings of a Materials Mind' is a series of articles discussing some of the less obvious areas surrounding the broad field of materials science and education, and offering us an alternative view on some of the associations and topics we might otherwise take for granted.


Wotta Lotta:

The prefix nano is everywhere. This is OK for today but, like Fleetwood Mac, I can’t stop thinking about tomorrow. I already have plans to leap-frog the nano generation, but the next generation of materials practitioners is then in a real fix – the pico scale is already of sub-atomic dimensions so where do we go from there?

Regrettable Materials:

I can feel every ripple of their surface topology, but I can’t get at the smoked mackerel fillets!

Fiction, Faction, Function:

Functional materials. This is so good a misnomer that it should have been coined by a political spin doctor.

Education for Life:

The following dialogue between a knowledgeable and eager potential student and a successful high-flying recent undergraduate in materials science was overhead in the subway last week…

A Brown Study:

"At current rates of production we just don’t have enough scrap plastic to fulfil society’s need for fence posts. Is it really essential to separate our glass bottles into colours when recycling? Perhaps not."

Making Waves:

Corrugation, corrugation, corrugation.

Defects and Society:

The crystal, a Societal model. Obvious really when you think about it. Sexuality, cultural diversity, economics, factions and class... it’s all in there, in here.

Modern Materials:

Ever wondered how surface research and the Art Deco movement are connected? No, neither had we, but this creative look back at the development of our discipline proffers a link and considers the future of art-materials crossover.

Books Do Furnish a Room:

A personal review of the need and value of fulfilling the academic stereotype, concluding on a thought-provoking tangent.
Warning: Reader discretion is advised, article contains graphic description of journal culling.

Nobel Thoughts:

"The world has definitely changed over the past 30 years, and scientists have been beavering away and publishing furiously, so what has been going on? This, I believe, is the good news for us: Most of the developments which have made an impact on society were the result of engineering, not new science."