From iPhones to New Bones: Why Materials Science Is So Dang Cool

Monday, July 19th - Thursday, July 22nd
Application Deadline: July 6th

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The Program:
Materials Science and Engineering is a broad, interdisciplinary field focused on designing and creating materials which exhibit specific properties, making them suitable for specific applications. This field involves understanding how different materials are constructed all the way down to the sub-atomic level, and how that construction translates to the real-world properties which allow us to make all sorts of useful products for our day-to-day lives.

Have you ever wondered how the touch screen of your smart phone works, why we can see through glasses but not through metals, or how medical treatments help us heal after catastrophic injuries? Or what those numbers inside the triangles on plastic containers mean, or why astronauts are weak and immobile after long durations out in space? If so, this course is for you!

In this course, we will introduce students (ages 15-18) to the basic concepts associated with the primary classes of materials, and what properties those different materials typically exhibit. We will then survey some of the most prominent companies and products in the world today, and contemplate which materials are used in those products and why? Finally, we will discuss how materials science is at the forefront of medicine, particularly as we move through this latest pandemic, and survey the future directions that materials science research is leading us toward.

Dr. Tim Keenan studies glass, ceramic, polymer, and composite materials, and designs these materials to elicit therapeutic effects upon implantation in live tissue.

Prior work included thorough characterization of a gallium-containing bioactive silicate glass series, along with in vitro biological evaluation of these glasses against fibroblast, osteoblast, osteosarcoma, and myeloma cells, and bacterial and fungal testing. Additional prior work included the development of composites of polymer hydrogels and bioactive glass particles for delivery of therapeutic ions, and these materials were also evaluated through in vitro cell viability analysis and bacterial and fungal testing, demonstrating great potential for in situ anti-fungal properties.

Current work is focused on the inclusion of phosphorous and other constituents into these glasses and composites, in an attempt to increase the rate and efficacy of in vitro hydroxyapatite deposition while enhancing their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Additionally, work is being conducted to synthesize the bioactive glass compositions described in the international standard ISO 23317, and conduct concurrent studies with these glasses for comparison against the experimental glass compositions.

A second topical area is the development of more rigid, naturally-derived, functionalized polymers for use as scaffold and sealant materials in bone void-filling applications. Additional areas of interest include the functionalization of structural ceramic surfaces for improved adhesion of polymeric coatings, and additive manufacturing (3-D printing) of ceramic/glass/polymer composites for biomedical applications.

You will attend classes and discussions via an online, virtual platform. Further information, including a detailed program schedule and online platform details, will be sent upon acceptance.

The cost is $100. A deposit of $50 is required.

How To Apply:
We are partnering with CampDoc (an online registration program) to better serve our campers and staff. CampDoc offers online registration and an electronic record system for campers. The CampDoc site is secure, encrypted and password protected. Only Alfred University Summer Health Staff will have access to camper information.

To gain access to our online application, please use the following link (we support the current and previous major releases of Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari):

Camp Registration Portal (CampDoc)
CampDoc Registration Instructions

Acceptance Next Steps:
The program director will evaluate all applications and determine who will be accepted. Acceptance and non-acceptance notifications will be sent via email. Once campers are accepted, they will be directed to pay the camp tuition and will be provided with the official schedule and online platform information. Any questions should be directed to Dr. Tim Keenan.

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Day 1: Introduction to Materials

  • Here we will ask some questions about the world around us, and develop a basic understanding of what differentiates metals, ceramics, glasses, and polymers.

Day 2: Famous Companies and Their Products

  • Here we will explore some of the most prominent companies of the present day and analyze their most popular products with regards to the materials which comprise them, and the overall properties of the products.

Day 3: Materials in Medicine

  • This day will focus on exploring how materials science is used to develop medical treatments and technologies, ranging from the repair of broken bones to fighting bacteria and viruses

Day 4: Future Research and Technologies

  • During the final day we will explore some of the new areas where materials science will play a prominent role (e. Mars colonization, augmented vision, etc.), and how you can join in!

Alfred University is located in the peaceful village of Alfred in western New York State, where summer days are warm and nights are cool and comfortable. Surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful meadows and valleys, Alfred University is the perfect place to spend an enjoyable week learning more about a favorite subject and meeting other students who share your interests.

Whether considering candidates for admission or financial aid, applicants for employment or the management of its policies and school-administered programs, Alfred University does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or disability. Alfred University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.