MTEN3013: Soda Cans to Smart Phones

How It's Made


Have you ever thought about what the objects you use every day are made of? From something as simple as the coffee mug you use in the morning to something as complex as your computer, materials science has played an important role in determining what is used to make them. Because everything is made of something, materials science is sometimes referred to as the science of stuff. It is such an essential science that human history is actually categorized into periods defined by the materials available. Ever heard of the stone age, the bronze age, and the iron age? Many scientists assert that we are currently in the “semiconductor” age, which is the class of materials responsible for the development of the smart phones that now we can’t live without.

So why do materials matter THAT much? What makes materials different from each other and where do they come from? Why does soda come in glass bottles, plastic bottles, AND metal cans? Why did the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters occur? This honors seminar is intended for students of all majors to explore such questions by providing a basic knowledge and understanding of the various types of materials, their origins, and their properties through in class activities, hands on demonstrations, and student developed lectures. Once students have a firm grasp on the fundamentals they will work in groups to create and develop their own materials science related workshop to conduct during an outreach event to expose Hughes STEM high school students to the discipline. If you only take away one thing from this course just remember this…you can’t make it without materials!

Past Offerings