Drew Crouch:
One step on the path of making the future fun again is leveraging the potential of innovation vectors – like the ongoing materials revolution.

It’s easy to tell when I stopped caring about “what things are made of”. That would be in 1983 as the direct result of interminable lectures in engineering school addressing ductility, crystal formation and the difference between isotropic and anisotropic properties. Materials science in the early 80’s was focused on metals and alloys with a dash of composites and ceramics, but on the whole it was one big yawner. A disaster in the making at 8:00 am after a late night out. Materials Science was “the other dismal science”.

It’s harder to tell when I finally started paying attention to materials and materials science. With the internet, biotechnology, wireless broadband, and the flattening of the world grabbing all my attention, I didn’t think much about such a mundane subject. After all, we had dot.coms to bomb!

It was probably the advent of high-temperature superconductors and then buckminsterfullerine that caused me to start paying a little bit of attention. More recent trickery with carbon nanotubes really caught my attention, and then last week came the dual announcements of easily extrudable nanotube ribbons and diamond-nanotube composites with very interesting properties. Something is definitely going on here.

Then it hit me – materials are interesting. Possibly even fun.

More here.