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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 2003. Materials Science and Technology: Challenges for the Chemical Sciences in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10694.
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Introduction

Materials chemistry has contributed to the advancement of a number of technologies, including medicine and health, information and communication, national security and space, transportation, structural materials, arts and literature, textiles, personal hygiene, agriculture and food science, and the environment. The excitement of materials chemistry is amplified by its intimate connections with other disciplines and its impact on daily life. These interdisciplinary interactions between the chemical sciences and other fields in the development of new materials and their applications also require close interaction and clear communication between scientists working in diverse areas.

As the contribution of materials chemistry to other disciplines increases, it will become necessary for scientists of all backgrounds to better understand how to undertake collaborative activities with other disciplines. Although it is not feasible for scientists to master a vast body of scientific knowledge over many disciplines, scientists must gain the skills that will allow them to master specific topics.

The need for advanced materials becomes apparent when looking both at the contributions that this area of chemical research has already provided and at how advances in many areas of science are dependent on the development of new materials with increased capabilities.

The following report is a product of presentations and insightful discussions from a diverse group of scientists in the area of materials science and technologies. This report is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to either of these areas, but merely a reflection of challenges that were specified by the speakers and participants of the workshop.

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 2003. Materials Science and Technology: Challenges for the Chemical Sciences in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10694.
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The report assesses the current state of chemistry and chemical engineering at the interface with materials science and identifies challenges for research. Recent advances are blurring the distinction between chemistry and materials science and are enabling the creation of new materials that, to date, have only been predicted by theory. These advances include a greater ability to construct materials from molecular components, to design materials for a desired function, to understand molecular "self-assembly, and to improve processes by which the material is "engineered" into the final product.

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