Hugo Severin

Like most things in the Materials Department, this course is a pretty slick operation. The handouts are very complete, baring some annotations. The DoITPoMS website and the TLPs are really excellent resources, and there’s material on almost all of the topics covered. The teaching and demonstrating are, by and large, at a very high standard, and people are always happy to answer questions during practicals and once you get to know people, they’re very approachable outside of scheduled time slots if you have questions. There is a single practical a week, which is assessed, but all the write-up is done during the session, and it is pretty easy to get full marks for all of them. The practicals are all pretty pertinent to the material (no pun intended) and it’s worth spending the extra time getting to understand whats going on and talking to the demos.

There is a project in the second term, where you have to deconstruct an artifact that the department gives you (I got a toaster, others had VHS tapes, bike pumps, kettles etc). You have to figure out what it’s made of and explain why that material has been used in a 2000 word report (good luck keeping it under the word limit). This was actually really interesting, although it really chews up time preparing metallographic samples and doing polymer tests and so on, so I suggest trying to schedule your time better than I did.

My main criticism of IB Materials, which was the semiconductors course right before exams, now has a new lecturer, who is really good and knows how to explain things really well. The course combines a lot of disciplines in a really empirical, real world based course. It is required for Part II Materials, and combines well with any of the IB physical subjects.