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About MRS-J

About MRS-J


- It’s crunch time now -

It is the teaching of history that material innovation has a great impact on the society. Research on materials in Japan has produced many outstanding research achievements recognized by the world, including Kotaro Honda of metallurgy. As a result, materials have become one of Japan's most competitive industries. The industry that produces electronics such as TVs and displays has lost its former momentum over the world, but the materials that make it up are still mainly made in Japan. However, the academic papers on which it is based are rapidly declining internationally in terms of quality and quantity. If this situation continues, in 10 years, the material industry will lose its strong international competitiveness. Then what will happen to the academic society that will be the place of academic exchange? We searched at the Science Council of Japan (SCJ), Materials Engineering Committee. There are about 31 registered material related academic organizations in Japan. Most of them have less than 1,000 regular members, and their age distribution has a large peak at the age of 55-60, and the number decreases rapidly if it gets younger. In addition, the number of overseas members is only around a few percent. The impact factor (IF) of the published journal is approximately 1 or less. This is the current situation of the Japan Society of Materials Science.

So, is the material shrinking as a discipline? If you look at the journals published by the major relevant academic societies in the world, you can see that this is not the case at all, but rather the material area has grown considerably. The American Physical Society, the association launched Physical Review Materials and APL Materials, the American Chemical Society launched the Chemistry of Materials, ACS Nano, Nano Letters, ACS Materials Letters, etc., and all journals acquire high IF (we need to be careful, as it will be difficult to emerge the next original research if you respect this excessively). This tendency is more pronounced in commercial magazines, and there are many high level papers on functional materials and engineering materials in high IF journals. However, such a tendency is not seen in journals published by Academic society of Materials Science. In other words, existing disciplines are trying to grow by incorporating material areas more and more. It seems that research on matter has shifted significantly from atoms and molecules to a condensed matter in which a large number of them are gathered. New functionality emerges in a condensed matter which is impossible by a single atom and molecule constituting it. This is the reason of this shift. However, in order to use it as a material, Control of higher-order structures such as grain boundaries and interfaces is indispensable. This is the difficulty of material research. There have been few effective means to this obstacle, but research is likely to progress considerably by incorporating recent AI techniques such as neural networks and machine learning. There are many issues in the world that need to be solved on a global scale. The solution requires new materials.

I feel that material research is about to reach a leap. It is not an argument that it is important to deepen individual disciplines, but it is difficult to make leaps without further development of interdisciplinary research. MRS-J, which was launched 30 years ago, wants to fulfill its role in promoting the multidisciplinary research that is its mission. First of all, let's make the 1st Materials Research Meeting (MRM), an international conference created from this background, a success. Looking at recent sports, we can see the success of Japanese players in the field that has been considered to be almost impossible. This seems to be the result that is starting to be developed from strengthening the supporting area over 10 years. This is a case we need to lesson.

President of MRS-J  Hideo Hosono