In addition to the questions to industry, and as a part of this decadal survey’s connection with the different materials research communities, a set of nine town halls was conducted. These town halls were held in conjunction with some of the major societies associated with materials research and their main yearly meetings to enable a direct discussion with as many materials scientists in person as possible. During each town hall, anyone who attended the main event was also allowed to attend the town halls, which often were advertised not only in the meeting’s main program but also with posters, postcards, flyers, and electronic media. A virtual town hall was also held in order to include the opinions of those scientists who were not available to travel to these events; this virtual opportunity was advertised by the National Academies Web pages. The function of these town halls was to gather additional input for the committee’s discussions of the statement of task. The effect of the town halls has been to guarantee that many more voices could be heard than just the committee members’ own. Each town hall consisted of an introduction to the survey and then continued with an item-by-item discussion of the statement of task among the attendees of what could be key considerations for the committee members to consider as they worked on the report. The town halls were led by National Academies staff together with available co-chairs and committee members who attend these specific society meetings regularly. The society meetings during which it was possible to hold town halls in 2017 were the Materials Research Society (spring and fall meetings); the American Chemical Society; the
American Vacuum Society; the International Society for Optics and Photonics; the American Ceramic Society; the Optical Society; the American Physical Society; and the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society. Each town hall lasted from 1.5 to 2 hours. After the 10-minute introduction, the town halls were dominated by the discussion among the attendees—ranging from a handful to more than 60 people—about key aspects that should not be forgotten as the committee considers the different facets of the statement of task. Each town hall was recorded and later transcribed, and the material was made available to the committee members who were not able to attend the specific town hall in person.