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A Century of Materials Science and Engineering: From Steels to Semiconductors, to Nano-and Bio-Materials

Aerial view of campus buildings

Materials Science has deep roots in the University’s history. Emerging from Geology and Mining, one of Stanford’s oldest departments, and an innovative 1903 course in the physics of metals, the Department of Mining and Metallurgy was created in 1919. One hundred years later, the Department of Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) is one of the premier materials science departments in the world. This work follows the evolution of Stanford’s metallurgy and, later, materials science program as it responded to changing society, governmental and industry needs. Once focused on ore extraction and processing, faculty and students developed notable expertise in the composition of microstructures and, later, aerospace, nuclear, and micro-electronics applications. Today, the department is at the forefront of nano-sciences and biosciences, with a special interest in environmental and medical applications.

In celebration of MSE’s centennial, William D. Nix, professor emeritus and former department chair, documents opportunities and challenges faced by this comparatively small department. Nix draws on his own 60 years of experience as a graduate student and professor, as well as on university documents and publications, informal departmental histories, and personal interviews.

ISBN NUMBER: 978-0-9847958-4-0

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William D. Nix
Stanford Historical Society and Stanford University Department of Materials Science and Engineering
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