universities has been on the basic science departments of physics and chemistry. The growth in sophistication of equipment and in quality of faculty and research efforts (and, derivatively, the quality of the graduates) in solid-state science is in large part due to the funds made available to the science community under the rubric of “materials science.” This was an understandable allocation of resources since perhaps no other single disciplinary group played a greater role in the development of the underlying, unifying principles. However, a decade later, there is a general consensus within that community that the success of solid-state physics has been so substantial that much of the intellectual challenge has been met, particularly in the theoretical area. Hence, the involvement of the physics community in the materials science of the 1970’s is likely to be quite different. There is no lack of challenge in the more applied aspects of the field, i.e. the application of the very principles discovered earlier. This shift of the center of gravity of the physics interest towards such applied work is likely to be accomplished only by a much greater degree of cooperation and interdisciplinarity with the materials-designated and other engineering departments. (Comments were made earlier on the need for broader instruction of the physics student in materials science.)
The chemistry departments reflect a somewhat different situation in that chemistry has been less influential in the materials field. However, there is an increasing awareness in chemistry departments of both the inorganic solid state and of the materials aspects of polymerics. Here again, as the chemical-synthesis phase of polymer research has reached its zenith, the chemist will need to interact more vigorously than in the past with colleagues in materials science and physics if the necessary research challenges are to be met effectively and vigorously.
In the case of the engineering departments, it was noted earlier that the materials-designated departments themselves constitute (probably with physics) the largest departmental units in materials research. The most important development within such departments is that they are becoming more interdisciplinary within themselves—by taking on physicists, electrical engineers, chemical engineers, etc., both as faculty members and as graduate students. While this is desirable, it is equally important for continued cross-fertilization that such departments keep open their working connections to both science and engineering colleagues in other departments. Where a center exists, there is a logical venue for such cooperation in research; where it does not, ad-hoc group research involving interdisciplinary teams may need special encouragement. The decision made by departments to preserve distinct identity-oriented specializations is also wise. The 1970’s will demand a definite increase in the engineering or “experience-intensive” materials fields, from extractive metallurgy to materials for specific applications. Active research programs in ceramic engineering, polymer engineering, and process metallurgy will deserve emphasis.
Of the other engineering departments, it was indicated previously that electrical engineering involvement in materials research appears to be decreasing. In contrast, chemical engineering is developing interests in materials research as emphasis moves towards processing systems. Likewise, because of the demands of public technology (in road building, solid-waste disposal, general construction), the interaction between the materials and civil engineers is likely to increase substantially.