The US Materials Research Society hosts the 2011 World Materials Summit to be held in Washington DC in early October 2011. The meeting is organized jointly with the European MRS and the Chinese MRS. This summit is the third in a series of World Materials Summits on the topic of 'Materials Research Enabling Clean Energy and a Sustainable Global Environment'. The prior two World Materials Summits were held in Lisbon, Portugal in 2007 and in Suzhou, China in 2009. The 2001 Materials World Summit integrates the views of policy and science to enhance the rate of progress toward challenges in materials research and innovation that are critical for meeting global energy and climate challenges. The 2001 Summit brings together global scientific experts and policymakers with a goal of research policy alignment across international borders, expanding the previous focus on clean energy and environmental sustainability and introducing the critical roles of materials in providing clean potable water to the world. As in prior summits, an Accord document will be produced, providing a global roadmap of materials research requirements and needs for energy and environmental sustainability, as well as the impact of materials on clean water worldwide.

The 2011 Materials World Summit also convenes the first ever Materials Student Congress, bringing a broad and diverse participation from students around the world. Through the summit, students as well as the broad materials sciences community becomes further aware of the many facets of the energy challenges facing the world in the next decades, as well as of the interconnected nature of the problems faced and the opportunities for materials sciences to help meet those challenges.

Project Report

The third in a series of World Materials Summits, this one held in Washington, D.C., from October 9-12, 2011, came with major addition: a Student Congress featuring 45 graduate or post-doctoral scientists from 18 countries around the world. These young researchers added a dose of fresh enthusiasm, ideas, and energy to the proceedings, supplementing the experience and knowledge supplied by the more senior attendees, who provided expert presentations and guidance to fuel the discussions that were the focus of the gathering: The 2011 World Materials Summit, like the previous summits held in Lisbon (2007) and China (2009), was a cooperative effort of the MRS, the European MRS, and China MRS. The meeting was chaired by Gabriel Crean of the Commissariat a l’ energie atomique et aux energies alternatives (CEA) in Europe, David Ginley of the National Renewable Energy Lab in the United States, Yafang Han of the Beijing Institute of Aeronautical Materials in China, and Alan Hurd of Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States. It was funded in part by National Science Foundation Division of Materials Research; the United States Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Science; the Office of Naval Research, Naval Materials Division; Aldrich® Materials Science; Dow; American Elements; and the Materials Science and Engineering Expert Committee (MatSEEC). The first day of the summit featured nine tutorial presentations on energy, sustainability, and water supply issues, to bring the students up to date on current thinking in these areas. The chairs spoke briefly about the purpose of the summit and what they hoped the outcomes would be. The primary product would be a World Materials Summit Declaration summarizing the main challenges and potential solutions identified by the summit’s participants. Alan Hurd noted that "the Student Congress grew out of a desire to find some way for early-career scientists to have a voice" in the ever-important dialogue regarding materials, energy, and sustainability. Lynn Orr of Stanford University followed with a broad talk on "Global Energy and the Environment," in which he stated, "energy is the primary way we interact with global systems that we count on—air, food, and water." His talk included discussions of evidence for global climate change in greenhouse gas concentrations, both in the atmosphere and in the oceans, which have become more acidic through uptake of carbon dioxide; ice sheets, which are rapidly thinning; and the rise in sea level, which is exceeding the rate predicted by the IPCC. Global supercomputer simulations are helping to track and predict global climate change. "It’s a question of when, not whether," global climate change will begin to have a major impact on our lives, Orr said.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
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Michael J. Scott
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Materials Research Society
United States
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