with a smaller program. (Details of the events leading to the establishment of these various laboratories are presented in a 1960 address by William O. Baker.2) This presentation is limited to a discussion of the ARPA IDLs, which were renamed Materials Research Laboratories when the National Science Foundation (NSF) took over the program in 1972.

It is instructive to quote directly from the work statement in ARPA IDL contracts from 1960:

The Contractor shall establish an interdisciplinary materials research program and shall furnish the necessary personnel and facilities for the conduct of research in the science of materials with the objective of furthering the understanding of the factors which influence the properties of materials and the fundamental relationships which exist between composition and structure and the behavior of materials [emphasis added].

In looking back, it should be recalled that in 1960 few academic departments at universities had sufficient breadth of coverage to justify the title “Materials Science,” and none would even have considered the title “Materials Science and Engineering.” Instead, there were many departments in which mining, process metallurgy, physical and mechanical metallurgy, and the physics of metals were the principal, and largely separate, areas of materials research. An occasional individual effort in ceramic engineering could be found, and polymer science, if available at all, was a topical course in advanced chemistry. Yet, 12 years later when the IDLs were transferred to NSF, materials science was a recognized discipline at many major research universities, and the change in emphasis in academia could be clearly demonstrated by the names selected by materials departments (see Table 2). The trend toward more general “materials” departments is continuing, as shown in the table.

TABLE 2 Trends in Titles of Materials Departments at U.S. Universities, 1964–1985

 

Number of Departments, by Year

Department Title

1964a

1970b

1985b

Minerals and Mining

9

7

5

Metallurgy

31

21

17

Materials

11

29

51

Other

18

21

17

Total

69

78

90

aCompiled from 1964–1970 ASM Metallurgy Materials Education Yearbook, ed., J.P.Nielsen (American Society for Metals, Metals Park, Ohio).

bCompiled from 1985 ASM Metallurgy/Materials Education Yearbook, ed., K.Mukherjee (American Society for Metals, Metals Park, Ohio, 1985).



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