Materials science is concerned with the relationship between the structure and properties of materials. Those who work in the field study how different combinations of molecules and materials result in different properties and use this knowledge to synthesize new materials. Few of the novel ideas in material science generate successful products either because of the science or because of the economics of bringing the idea to market. Nonetheless, materials science is one of the hottest career areas. It unites applications from many scientific disciplines: chemistry, physics, engineering and recently biology.
Materials scientists are employed by companies whose products are made of metals, ceramics, and rubber; they work in the coatings (developing new varieties of paint) and biologics industries (designing materials that are compatible with human tissues for prosthetics and implants). Other applications of materials science include studies of superconducting materials, graphite materials, integrated-circuit chips, and fuel cells.
Materials science is so interdisciplinary that preparation in a number of related areas is important. Good verbal and written communication skills are required since most materials scientists work in teams with people in other disciplines.