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Pure Appl. Chem., 2007, Vol. 79, No. 10, pp. 1635-1641

Toward designing new sensoaesthetic materials

Mark A. Miodownik

Materials Group, Engineering Division, King's College London, London, UK

Abstract: In ancient societies, there was no arts/science split. The development of materials was driven both by aesthetic and technological goals. At the end of the 19th century, things changed dramatically. Scientists started being able to analyze composition, detect structure, and make a link between structure and properties. The subsequent 20th-century revolution in new materials changed almost all aspects of human activity. However, it was not without serious side-effects, the first of which has been that the materials science community has willingly marginalized itself. The second is the eradication of interest in the sensual and aesthetic properties of materials, and thus the banishment of the creative urges that arrive via the senses. This paper discusses these issues, and suggests that collaboration with the materials arts community offers exciting new challenges and could create an intellectual community that is not just more culturally and ethically aware, but also nurtures more innovative science.