P232: Teaching the history of civilization with the chemistry of materials
The course “Introduction to the Chemistry of Materials” connects history, economics, and fine arts with chemistry. Examples ranging from pottery bowls and bronze armor to the Space Shuttle and iPhones demonstrate that the history of civilizations is tied to the development of materials, and the acquisition of natural resources necessary for their production. Artists’ materials including ceramics, metals, fibers, paints and dyes are used to illustrate spectroscopy, intermolecular forces, redox and polymerization reactions. Students also practice ethical reasoning with issues of access to natural resources, sustainability of processing methods, and the fates of waste materials.