My favorite class this semester is actually one that is during an eight AM lecture. What makes it so great? In short… my professor. In my opinion, the best classes aren’t made by the subject matter that is being taught, they are made by the people who are teaching it, and Material Science 310 is no exception. I’m happy to say that I enjoy all of my professors on campus this semester; they are extremely well qualified and are prolifically enthusiastic about their classes which makes learning their material both easier and more rewarding. Special shout-out my Organic Chemistry teacher Travis Williams and my Biology professor John Heidelberg, but my most favorite class is Material Science (310), a course about learning the behaviors and properties of different materials and how those properties play a role in the design process when new products hit the market. My professor is Oliver Franke; he is a guest faculty lecturer and he loves Material Science almost as much as he loves Germany (where he is from). He is one of the smartest professors I’ve ever had and his expertise, which is apparent through the level of detail he covers in class, is astounding. His overall knowledge of material science, including information he knows about specific bridges, ships, and buildings that have design flaws, helps me to understand the importance of material science’s role in our everyday lives. It doesn’t hurt that he gives candy out to students who participate in class. Oh and coffee too… he brings it to his morning lectures occasionally.
(bcc model of a molecule)
Before enrolling in the class I knew little about material science, but in reality, it is basically like learning chemistry without the calculations. Material science is the manner in which we describe matter and how they interact with the world. So far throughout the semester we have been learning about structure, function, and design when considering the overall limiting factors (AKA constraints) that engineers work with on a daily basis. I love this subject matter because it allows us to look at the molecular interactions of materials and use our knowledge of what we can’t see to influence making things that we can see. One of my favorite aspects about the class is that Professor Franke genuinely believes in the idea that there is always more than one solution to a problem, and he also believes that failure is always an option. In his words,
Engineers need to analyze failed approaches every day and act based on this analysis. Critical thinking is the most important asset you should develop in college. Projects are designed to teach you important skills and start solving problems like an engineer. Real engineering problems are not set and there might be several solutions to one problem. For example, there are several ways get you to the Staples center (the shortest, the fastest and the one with no left turns), none is perfect but all will get you to your goal.