Materials science is the enabling technology behind everything from modern electronics to fashion, safe and recyclable packaging, faster and fuel-efficient vehicles, novel energy generation and storage, aerospace propulsion systems, affordable housing, medical engineering, sensors, nanotechnology, and micromachines. One of the most exciting directions in science and policy-making is sustainability, with its emphasis on energy conservation, storage, and renewable production.
The objective of this Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site at Boise State University is to provide an intensive research-team experience with state-of-the-art facilities while exploring activities within the theme materials for society. Mentors from various disciplines work with students to develop skills needed to excel in academic and industrial research environments, where interdisciplinary teams are standard. Students ultimately present their results at the annual summer research conference.
Projects generally fall into one or more of four broad categories:
Energy generation (e.g., solar cells, magnetic shape-memory alloys, thermoelectrics)
Energy storage (e.g., sodium-ion batteries, building systems)
Energy conservation (e.g., carbon nanoelectronics)
With more than 22,000 students, Boise State is the largest university in Idaho. The Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering is part of the vibrant College of Engineering, which was ranked 13th in the 2013 U.S. News & World Report's list of best undergraduate engineering programs among comprehensive public universities and 35th among all undergraduate engineering programs.
Boise is Idaho’s capital city (elevation 2842 ft) and largest metropolitan area, which serves as the government, business, high-tech, economic, and cultural center of the state. Located along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the city has a vibrant downtown offering art and fine dining, and it is convenient for outdoor recreation including world-class whitewater rivers, skiing, mountain biking, fishing, and camping. Time magazine called Boise the #1 Region “Getting it Right” in 2014. The city has also been highly ranked for both outdoor activities and business by National Geographic Adventure, Bike Magazine, Forbes and others; and Outside Magazine ranked Boise its #3 Best River Town in 2012. Liveability.com said that Boise had the #4 Best Downtown in America in 2012 and was the #1 Best City for Kids in 2104 and the #9 Best Place to Live in 2015.