Materials Science Spring 2019

Welcome to Jon Stolk's flavor of Materials Science and Solid State Chemistry at Olin College! In this course, you will explore the materials we encounter in our everyday lives, through a series of hands-on analytical projects, and guided by questions that you and your peers find interesting. The course is project-based, which means you will take control of your learning process via self-directed and flexible assignments and hands-on laboratory experiments, rather than sit and listen to me talk about materials. There are no scheduled lectures. But fear not: there's plenty of instructor scaffolding and structure in the early parts of the semester, and learner autonomy gradually increases over time. You'll also have help from your teammates, as nearly all of the work in this class is collaborative.

Course Syllabus and Course Overview

As described in the course syllabus, this course is organized around the following learning goals:
  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Communication
  3. Hands-On Experimentation
  4. Materials Science Conceptual Understanding
  5. Teaming and Collaboration
  6. Self-Directed Learning
You'll have specific course activities, deliverables, and assessments in each of these competency areas. But how do we make progress toward these goals? It's quite simple, really. As shown in the figure below, we start with stuff -- products that are interesting from design, technology, or impacts perspectives -- and develop an understanding of the materials in this stuff by analyzing properties, structure, and composition (down to atoms and molecules), and by considering where the stuff originates, how and why it's used, and what impacts it has on our world (up to global society). We'll do all of this through a series of hands-on projects, as described in the course overview

But we won't do any of this without help.  Our Spring 2019 team includes:
  • Matt Neal, Materials Science and Chemistry Lab Director.  Email Matt.
  • An amazing team of MatSci NINJAs: TBD



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