IntroSems quarters and schedules subject to change--check back often. Go to Re-Approaching Stanford for weekly updates on Academic Year 2020-21.
Resilience, Transformation, and Equilibrium: The Science of Materials
In this course, we will explore the fundamentals of the kinetics of materials while relating them to different phenomena that we observe in our everyday lives. We will study the mechanisms and processes by which materials obtain the mechanical, electronic, and other properties that make them so useful to us. How can we cool water below freezing and keep it from turning into ice? Why is it that ice cream that’s been in the freezer for too long doesn’t taste as good? What are crystal defects, and why do they help create some of the most useful (semiconductors) and beautiful (gemstones) things we have?
A material’s structure and the processes it goes through affect its properties and performance. Likewise, a person’s experiences can shape who they are and who they become. In addition to learning about the kinetics of materials, in this class we will also draw parallels between these concepts and how our experiences shape who we are and how we relate to each other. For example, can we use a transformation diagram for metals to model how we embark upon friendships and relationships? (The answer is yes!)
This introductory seminar is open to all students, and prior exposure to chemistry, physics, or calculus is NOT required. For students who are not looking to major in a STEM field, or who are uncertain, this course is designed to be a window to the concepts that materials scientists and engineers use in their work, as well as how these concepts have parallels in real-life phenomena. For students who are planning to major in engineering, especially Materials Science and Engineering, this course will be a nice primer for future courses that cover topics in kinetics, thermodynamics, and mechanics of materials.