FIGURE 4.1 The price per bit of dynamic random access memories (DRAMs) has been falling steadily by 25–30 % per year as the volume produced steadily rises. The capabilities of other electronic components are advancing at similiar rates. If aircraft had developed at the same rate, a flight from New York to San Francisco would now take 10 minutes and cost $20. (Courtesy of SEMI/SEMATECH.)

As we enter the new millennium, the field of condensed-matter and materials physics is evolving in several important directions. It is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, with progress often being made at the interfaces with other disciplines, such as biology, chemistry, engineering, materials science, and atomic and molecular physics. Partnerships across disciplines and among universities, government laboratories, and industry have become essential to assemble the resources and diverse skills necessary to continue advancing our knowledge. The emergence of national facilities, from atomic-resolution microscopes to powerful synchrotron and neutron sources, has transformed both the practice and the substance of the field. These developments foreshadow a condensed-matter and materials physics community more closely connected with industry and with the rest of science, and armed with experimental and computational capabilities that were not even imagined just a few decades ago.

The 21st century will bring significant challenges to condensed-matter and materials physics. Foremost among these challenges is ensuring the future vitality of the field and its continued ability to enhance our quality of life. The shift of the major industrial laboratories away from long-term, funda-

FIGURE 4.2 The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, commissioned in 1996, is the nation's most powerful synchrotron x-ray facility. It will provide unprecedented research opportunities to thousands of users in the materials, biological, and engineering sciences. (Courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory.)

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