The topic of education optimized for materials research is treated In sequence at four hierarchical levels starting with the most general.
Materials Research is the earliest and best developed example within the physical sciences and engineering of an integrative field (discipline?). Yet very little thought and no research (including the relevant cognitive science) has addressed the subject of how best one can educate a cadre of materials researchers. The author will adduce Inductive and anecdotal data to point some fruitful directions in reorganizing the approach to education in integrative knowledge fields.
The first important thesis of this paper is that we have failed to analyze correctly the appropriate hierarchical relationships among individual scientific disciplines, engineering departments, and technological research groupings.
The second major point is that education for materials research is done is several departments (materials science, physics, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, etc.) and Indeed that some mix of disciplinary roots is desirable for the materials research cadre. Improvements will be proposed in four areas: (1) Optimum content of MSE curriculum, (2) the widespread introduction of MSE minors, (3) under-representation of electronic materials, pol ymers, ceramics.
The third aspect deals with the modularization of the content and teaching materials to allow adaptation to local needs in a field like materials research. The international materials community has done rather well by establishing the Materials Education Council and the Journal of Materials Education, for producing and disseminating print media. The status and usage of JME will be described.