Material Science has a complicated relationship with society. For years solutions that have advanced the safety of societies, improved health and quality of life have come from many material developments. We now live on a planet that is in need of material solutions that will aid in the establishment of sustainability, conserving materials and energy and yet still support a developing industrial base.
In the curriculum, there has been a substantial growth in “green”, “environmental”, and “sustainable” materials for design of environmentally friendly products including recognition of resource limits of growth, sustainable consumption, the development of sustainable product life cycles and development of the circular economy. These topics resonate with today’s students but can be in conflict with the directions of materials development and thus represent an incongruency in their educational program.
Is it time to re-examine the core programs to find an approach to better prepare our graduates?