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'Ask a Scientist' to focus on materials science

February 11, 2013
Matthew Jewell
Dr. Matthew Jewell

EAU CLAIRE — Dr. Matthew Jewell, assistant professor of materials science at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, will present "A Brief History of Materials" Feb. 20 as part of the "Ask a Scientist" series.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. at the Acoustic Café in downtown Eau Claire.

Smart phones, the World Wide Web and computers are a few luxuries of modern life to which we, in the 21st century, have become accustomed. But how were these technological advances developed?

Jewell said many of the necessities and luxuries of modern life are enabled because of advances brought by materials scientists.

"I'm kind of fascinated by this idea that new technology or new ways of doing things require more than just a great idea or a brilliant mind," Jewell said.

He noted that human progress often has been the result of advancements in materials, pointing to the tradition of naming certain historical ages after the important materials of the time, such as the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age.

During his presentation, Jewell will discuss how the processing and use of materials has developed as well as the technologies it has enabled. He then will focus on how specific technologies in our century are enabled by materials advances and what open challenges remain for future materials development.

The presentation will consist of a 30-minute talk followed by a question-and-answer session.

The remaining "Ask a Scientist" presentations for the spring 2013 semester are:

  • March 20 — Justin Vasel, 2011 UW-Eau Claire physics graduate and current physics graduate assistant, University of Minnesota Duluth, "Stealthy Neutrinos and the Search for Exploding Stars."

  • April 17 — Dr. Jonathan Gardner, chief, Observational Cosmology Laboratory, Goddard Space Flight Center, "A Scientific Revolution: The Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes."

For more information about the series, contact Dr. Paul Thomas, professor of physics and astronomy, at thomaspj@uwec.edu.

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