A variety of products - from electronic devices to appliances to prescription drugs to breakfast cereals - are constructed using hundreds or thousands of distinct elements (which themselves may be comprised of several different kinds of materials). The materials scientist examines the chemical properties of natural and man-made materials and finds ways to apply these materials to meet the needs of their company. Materials scientists work to constantly improve the materials and properties of products, using their knowledge of materials on the chemical and structural level to improve products and/or create new ones.
As with other types of scientists, materials scientists must have extensive knowledge of their field. They need to be able to correctly identify chemical and structural properties of materials and possess the creativity to apply this knowledge in ways that improve products. Materials scientists typically work in laboratories and employ highly-specialized equipment in pursuit of their goals. They must also communicate well and work effectively in teams.
Materials science is a field encompassing a plethora of different disciplines, and materials scientists often possess at least a bachelor's degrees in physics, chemistry, engineering, or a related field. Materials scientists wishing to pursue a career in research generally need to complete a master's or doctoral degree. Employment prospects may be improved for candidates who have some education in other fields such as economics, biological sciences, and mathematics.
Materials Scientist Tasks
Develop new compositions or formulas and define specifications for each.
Follow protocols to produce, test, and package products.
Directly interact with clients to demonstrate and show products.
Analyze existing materials and applications to provide solutions and testing for optimization.
Write grants and proposals to obtain contracts for production.