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The Physics of Materials: How Science Improves Our Lives
the materials and understanding to make new devices. This work is done in universities, in industry, and in government laboratories.
Part 3 speaks, as well, of a field in transition. New linkages with disciplines such as polymer chemistry and the biological sciences are growing in importance.
The evolution of CMMP is taking place within an evolving national and international context, as described in Part 4. The great industrial laboratories, so prominent over the last half century, have shifted the scale, scope, and emphasis of their R&D investments in CMMP to adjust to changes in the global marketplace. Industry is looking more and more to universities and government laboratories to perform basic research that will lead to the next generation of technology. Yet these very academic and government institutions are themselves facing considerable stresses that limit their abilities to respond to new demands.
Part 4 also discusses issues arising from the growing dependence of CMMP on shared large and medium-size experimental facilities. Increasingly sophisticated equipment has become necessary for scientific innovation, from electron-beam instruments to giant x-ray synchrotrons. These facilities are essential for continued advances in the invention, understanding, and control of increasingly complex materials. They are required for a broad range of scientific and technological endeavors, not only in CMMP but also in many other fields of science and in industry. But funding large facilities strains the resources of the agencies that have traditionally provided research support to universities and government laboratories, even as those institutions are being asked to play a broader role.
CMMP promises to be a dynamic field of research for many years to come. If the challenges currently facing the field can be met, there are enormous opportunities for scientific and technological advances that will improve our lives.