Thursday, February 10, 2011


After spending months reading, lurking, and periodically commenting on a number of blogs, I'm finally caving to the urge to create my own. This blog exists as a way for me to muse upon the challenges of graduate school, and discuss the fundamentals of materials science and engineering. After a B.S. degree and nearly two years in graduate school, I've discovered that even other scientists and engineers are often highly unaware of what we do. Probably because MSE covers a little bit of everything, from mechanical engineering to biology to physics.

So... what is MSE?

Materials science is the study of the relationships between processing, properties, structure, and performance. At some point, you will inevitably be shown "the tetrahedron", so let's get that out of the way now:
My current research is in the area of computationally characterizing structures, and analyzing the effect of structure variation on properties. I hope to spend more time later going over what is meant by all of these terms in greater detail. While most academic materials science programs have their roots in metallurgy, materials science effectively covers all solid materials, from metals to ceramics to polymers to nanotubes. (Everything is spiffier at the nanoscale!)

For those who have been paying attention, you may have noticed "and engineering" attached to the discipline. MSE covers both fundamental understanding and cutting-edge innovation (i.e., science), as well as practical things, like what to build a bridge with, or how to increase the lifespan of engine components (i.e., engineering). 

Between undergraduate research, summer internships, coursework, and graduate school, I've had a chance to dabble in a broad range of topics under the MSE umbrella. Eventually, I may even cover all of them... 

-Miss MSE

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