Materials science at Rice University has a history of discovery and innovation — going back to the discovery of the buckyball in 1985.
The discovery of the spherical fullerene, or buckyball, in 1985 earned the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Rick Smalley, Bob Curl and Harold Kroto in 1996 and has spawned materials research in carbon nanotubes across the Schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences at Rice. As a result, the Max Planck Society of Germany named Rice University number one in materials science and chemistry in 2014.
The Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering at Rice, established in 2014, brings together faculty engaged in research and teaching in the fields of materials science and nanotechnology. Historically, Rice has been a powerhouse in nanotechnology and has consistently ranked high in materials research.
Faculty in the Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering hold joint appointments in several other departments: mechanical engineering, bioengineering, chemistry, chemical and biomolecular engineering, electrical and computer engineering, civil and environmental engineering and physics and astronomy. This diversity of disciplines only hints at the interdisciplinary nature of MSNE research at Rice, which goes beyond nanotechnology.
Our undergraduate and graduate degree programs provide students with the requisite skills and educational background to contribute to the solution of many materials and nanoengineering problems, allows graduates to work in a fascinating field, and makes it possible to become a leader in one of the most challenging areas of technology