students who have not had at least a basic introduction to materials science and engineering at the undergraduate level. There is also a major need for texts that introduce principles of materials science and engineering at an advanced level to students who have been well grounded in scientific and engineering principles but not necessarily in materials science and engineering. Such texts would do for materials science and engineering graduate students what Kittel’s text, Introduction to Solid State Physics (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1971), does for physicists who intend to explore condensed-matter physics.


The pace of technological change is now so rapid that the skills of scientists and engineers who do not stay abreast of new developments can become obsolete in only a few years. It is commonly held, for example, that engineers require some level of retraining at least every 5 years. In a dynamic, wide-ranging field like materials science and engineering, the risk of obsolescence and the consequent need for continuing education are especially great. Many companies, universities, and professional societies recognize the need for continuing education in materials science and engineering. Many options, varying in quality and effectiveness, are available.

Options for Providing Continuing Education

The traditional method of taking courses on campus works well for employees of companies located near a university. Most urban universities offer night classes, and many firms pay the tuition and fees of employees who take job-related courses. University-based short courses provide an intensity of focus and access to laboratory demonstrations and specialized on-site equipment.

Some large firms have integrated continuing education into their operations. Typically, they offer courses that are up to 15 weeks long, and subjects range from introductory physics to topics of technical interest to the company. In-house experts or university professors serve as instructors.

Less time-consuming than the preceding options, short courses and workshops that span one or several days are quite popular. National professional organizations, such as ASM International, the Materials Research Society, the American Physical Society, and the American Chemical Society, offer short courses before or after national conferences. In-house symposia and seminars are other means of keeping employees abreast of the latest technological developments.

The University of Minnesota, Stanford University, and the Illinois Institute

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