Materials Research Activities

COSMAT: Committee On the Survey of Materials Science and Engineering, 1974

COSMAT Report, 1974

The Committee on the Survey of Materials Science and Engineering: Materials and Man's Needs - Materials Science and Engineering

COSMAT (Committee on the Survey of Materials Science and Engineering), chaired by Morris Cohen, MIT, and William Baker, Bell Labs, provided an overview of the field requested by the US National Academy of the Sciences' Committee on Science and Public Policy. The committee consisted primarily of practitioners in the field of materials research: individuals from academia and industry, with one member from the National Bureau of Standards and one from Resources for the Future, Inc.

The overall objectives were: "to determine the nature and scope of materials science and engineering; to ascertain the linkage of science with engineering in the field of materials for the successful translation of new basic knowledge into successful application; to examine the interaction of materials science and engineering with other areas of science and technology; to discern trends in the development of the materials field in order to identify its challenges, opportunities and needs; and to reach conclusions concerning the means by which materials science and engineering might contribute more broadly to the national well-being."

The report recommends increased funding for the field under "comprehensive federal leadership", including a strengthened academic base and an intensified industrial effort. It is perhaps not surprising that a committee consisting almost exclusively of materials researchers should recommend vastly increased funding for their own field. But even when reading this report critically as an example of boosterism, it should be kept in mind that, by all accounts, many readers in influential positions were swayed by the arguments.

At the very least, the report is the most comprehensive overview of materials science and engineering ever. As such it is highly revealing. The entire document is reproduced here. You can browse from page to page in small, medium, or large resolution.

PS. Unfortunately the student scanning has left a little to be desired: pp. 011, 012, 031, 032, 089, 090, and 186 are doubles (our URL-numeration). Pp. 181, 188, 233, and 235 will be re-scanned.

Table of Contents:


Science and Engineering in Materials Activities:

National Concerns and Technical Challenges:

Opportunities in Materials Research

Recommendations - An Agenda for Action

Appendix A. Priorities in Materials Research: COSMAT Questionnaire Methodology and Some Results

Appendix B. Liaison Representatives, Panels, Committees, and Contributors

This page was last updated on 30 December 2002 by Arne Hessenbruch.