On Materials

For engineers, architects, artists, and designers intimate familiarity with the intricacies of the materials they work with is essential. Acquiring this knowledge means learning a lot of chemistry and physics and spending a lot of time around the materials themselves and people who know them. In this workshop we will introduce the participants to the many faces of a few materials we take for granted: metals, plastics, wood, and paper. We will talk about the properties that give rise to the variations in each of these, some of the science behind these properties, and the implications of these properties for working with these materials. Insofar as one can spend a lifetime getting to know just one of these, we will necessarily only scratch the surface, so to speak, but hopefully the experience will be eye-opening and motivate further exploration.