Material science

  • Thread starter MrCaN
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  • #1
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Hey, I am preparing to graduate at the end of this semester, and was wondering if anyone here is or has worked int he material science field. I don't think I'm gonna go to grad school right away, and am thinking of looking into this field for a job, and would just like to know of any experiences people have had.
 

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  • #2
Gokul43201
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Is that your major ? There's many braches under Materials science - polymers and plastics, semiconductors, magnetic materials, structural materials, mechanical behavior (fracture, fatigue, thermal cycling, etc.), corrosion and coatings, materials characterization and instrumentation, materials/inorganic synthesis, bio-materials, etc. Do you have any specialization you want to get into ? What is your background ?

Hmm...I'm asking more questions than I'm answering, aren't I ? There...that's another one, isn't it ?

I think it can be quite a fun field. My experience is entirely in research and I've worked on development of long afterglow phosphors; synthesis and characterization of intermetallic permanent magnets; study of phenomena in semiconductor Qunatum Well structures; and have dabbled in photolithography, chemical etching, synthesis of GMR manganites and cuprate superconductors, etc.
 
  • #3
ZapperZ
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I think I should chime in my 2-cent here.

You need to be a bit more careful in defining "Material Science" as an academic major. In many schools, "Material Science" is a part of the engineering college. So while there may be a large overlap in the content of study with those studying the physics of materials, such area of study focuses more on the application, fabrication, and engineering aspect of material science.

However, if the study of "Material Science" is within the physics department, then this is more likely to be known as "Condensed Matter Physics". Again, this may involve application and fabrication of materials, but also involve in a large part the study of the physics of materials, especially many-body physics of the strongly correlated systems. This field of physics includes magnetism, low-dimensional systems, semiconductors, superconductors, magnetoresistance, etc.

In many instances, this boundary is not that significant at the very end. For example, the American Physical Society lumps both condensed matter physicists and material scientists into one division under its wing called the the Division of Condensed Matter Physics/Material Sciences (no brainer there!). Together, the make up the largest division of the APS.

What it boils down to is the subtle area of interest that YOU have, or might want to go into. The best thing to do is go to the various schools that you might want to apply to, look at all the reseach areas that are available, how active are the faculty members in those areas, look at the various publications they produce, and select one or two that you might like to work in. While you may have to indicate the area you want to go into in your graduate school application, you really don't have to make a firm commitment to any area until you pass your qualifier. Most faculty members don't want you to work for them anyway till you do! :)

Zz.
 
  • #4
Gokul43201
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I don't think MrCaN wants to go to school just yet.
 
  • #5
ZapperZ
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Gokul43201 said:
I don't think MrCaN wants to go to school just yet.
Oops. You're correct. I should have read it more carefully.

Zz.
 
  • #6
Njorl
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MrCaN? is that Mister Calcium Nitride? Just curious.

A new hot topic is InN-InGaN solar cells. They have the possibility to be perfectly tailored to the solar spectrum. There are problems though - it is hard to grow cheaply, hard to electrically contact and hard to make flexible and durable. Solve those problems and you'll be rich.

Njorl
 
  • #7
lkc
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Growth area: Nanotechnology.
 
  • #8
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once we have nanotechnology, there will be no need for solar cells
 
  • #9
Gokul43201
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nanotechnology....shmanotechnology ! :grumpy::mad:
 
  • #10
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My advice to you would be to go get a non-thesis MS in materials science & engineering. I found I enjoyed my MS work much more then the BS they tought during undergrad. The classes are more interesting, and you seem to retain much more from them. Plus you can do it in a year or 1.5 if you want to.

I finished my MS a little over two years ago and my first job will payfor the extra school. A buddy was hired at the same time at $10k less than me, and while he will have that two years at ~50k that I will have to make up, the 2-4% raises every year will more than make up for the difference after a short while.

If you want some school recomendations, ask away as I know a lot of them. It really depends on your interestes.
 
  • #11
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As for places to work, if you are above a 3.0, Intel will probably hire you if you have a pulse. I would also check with other semiconductor companies like AMD, Motorola, etc.

Aerospace is a good place to be right now, but the jobs are harder to find for us MSE types. I know I had a hard time getting good offers as an undergrad, but not so much with a MS. Anyway, for what it's worth.
 

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