Active maintenance of these web resources ceased in 2012 and they will not be updated. They are posted for archival purposes only.

Topic Title: JOM ARTICLE: Materials and Society: How TMS and MSE Can Respond to Global Needs
Topic Summary: From the August 2008 Issue of JOM
Created On: 7/30/2008 10:42 AM

 7/30/2008 10:42 AM

Diran Apelian

Posts: 35
Joined: 2/13/2007

Back in the fall of 2004 when I had the opportunity to present the Distinguished Lecture on Materials and Society at MS&T'04, I focused on the basic needs of our global society and the opportunities we have in the MSE community to provide solutions and address societal needs. Moreover, I called for the materials science and engineering (MSE) community to be an advocate for these needs and to mobilize our intellectual capital to make a difference. Subsequently, during our TMS 2007 Annual Meeting in my anniversary plenary lecture, I stated:

"The global MSE community has a responsibility to address significant problems that our society needs, and will be facing in the future. These pertain to basic human needs such as energy, transportation, housing, packaging and distribution of food, recycling, health, etc.—all matters that affect quality of life on this planet. I am suggesting that the MSE community has a responsibility to be an advocate for these issues, and to have representation at world forums to make the case, and to ensure that resources are being channeled towards these endeavors. It is one thing to be recipient of funds and to do work as directed by an agency; it is another to influence policy and to ensure that resources become available for critical global needs. The MSE community has an incredible opportunity to respond to such issues. These are the 'right' issues and if we act, it will have tremendous dividends in ways that we cannot envision."

In December 2004, the price of crude oil was a little over $40 a barrel. At that time, we all felt the pressure of the increasing price of energy; in July 2008, the price has jumped to above $140 a barrel! When the average world population growth is 1.4% a year, and the world energy usage is growing at almost 1.7% a year, we have serious problems that require engineering solutions coupled with judicious policies and legislation. However, the energy situation is only one challenge. There are other issues facing our global society, issues such as sustainable mobility, housing and infrastructural issues, food and water supplies, resource recovery and recycling (including material substitution and dematerialization), and health care.

I am proud to report that TMS members, and we as a professional society, have taken the lead in this whole subject of Materials and Society. During our 2008 Annual Meeting we had several symposia that addressed various themes ranging from infrastructural issues, carbon footprint reduction in aluminum production, and sustainable mobility to resource recovery and recyclability, etc. An ad hoc Committee on Materials and Society was formed to study and explore the opportunities TMS has and paths we should be pursuing. A report and their recommendations are expected in October.

We also have an opportunity to capture the imagination of the next generation of MSE professionals. Young women and men across the globe are keenly interested in helping and contributing. Materials technologies are enabling tools to the challenges we face, and this is an opportunity to inspire and attract human capital to MSE. We witnessed this spirit in New Orleans by the number of students that joined in to assist rebuilding a school in the Orleans parish a few days before the TMS 2008 Annual Meeting.

During this past year, the TMS Foundation has revised its mission. The new mission is to support the development of materials professionals within the context of our global society by:

    Providing scholarships to today’s most promising materials science and engineering students, investing in the future of the profession and the industries it serves.

    Funding programs that assist young professionals in attaining the highest level of technical, professional, and leadership development.

    Supporting projects, programs, and tools that have a significant impact on materials engineering education by virtue of content, methodology, or scope.

    Investing in knowledge, people, products, and infrastructure that positively impact the quality of life in society through materials innovation.

    Support the stewardship of earth and environment by promoting materials solutions.

The last two bullets are totally focused on our responsibility as a professional society to address the societal issues of our planet.

Lastly, the sister societies of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers—TMS, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the Association for Iron and Steel Technology, and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration—have joined forces to organize an international workshop titled Engineering Solutions for Sustainable Development: Materials and Resources. The workshop will provide a forum for bringing together like-minded associations and organizations to identify needs and frame solution paths and implementation directions for the challenges we face in critical areas such as: energy, transportation, housing, food, recycling, and health. Emphasis will be placed on the materials and resources required and the role of the modern engineer in addressing these needs in a sustainable manner. It will be held in Lausanne, Switzerland, from July 22–24, 2009. Sustainable development in the 21st century will require a fresh look, creativity, and a collective effort. This workshop will focus on what materials and resources are integral to meeting our basic societal needs, the engineering answers for cost effective and sustainable pathways, and the development of the strategies needed for enabling the effective utilization of engineering solutions and the global engineering community. It is intended to be a platform where engineering societies as well as global organizations with a stake in the world's future can share the collective perspectives on the engineering grand challenges that face our world today.

Materials and society are interlinked, and it is only rational that we should see a close relation between MSE and societal issues that affect the human condition on this globe. These serious societal needs are an opportunity for the MSE community to influence public policy and to make a difference by how we direct our efforts for shaping the world of tomorrow. I'll close with George Bernard Shaw, who said it so eloquently: "We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future."

Diran Apelian is a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the 2008 TMS president.
 12/19/2008 8:15 AM

Diran Apelian

Posts: 35
Joined: 2/13/2007

Per Diran Apelian's JOM Article there was mention of quote "An ad hoc Committee on Materials and Society was formed to study and explore the opportunities TMS has and paths we should be pursuing. A report and their recommendations are expected in October."

Is there an update on this report by the ad hoc Committee?
If so, where would someone get this report?

Audie Carter
 12/29/2008 5:03 PM

Diran Apelian

Posts: 35
Joined: 2/13/2007

Thank you for asking. During October, the Board heard the recommendations of the ad hoc committee and approved all of them. A key is the development a new standing committee dedicated to Materials and Society. We are in the process of assembling this committee now.

For more detail on the recommendations and the new committee, please see the story "Making a Material Difference," which was the spotlight story during November in the Materials and Society Community of the Materials Technology@TMS web site.

Naturally, I will be happy to answer any additional questions about our progress in this area.

5500 Corporate Drive Suite 750, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 USA (directions)
Telephone 800-759-4867 (U.S. and Canada)
724-776-9000 (elsewhere)
Fax 724-776-3770 ·Email