Twice as Smart
Materials can be smart, but to be truly disruptive they need to be double smart (at least) and always answer the next question, as in – first question: what can it do? Next question: What else can it do? What are its qualities? What are its applications? What other ways can it be applied? What other qualities does it possess? etc.
For example, back in the day synthetic material was devised to be cheap, durable and adaptable with little attention given to its environmental impact. Today we tend to think in terms of Climate Change, but irrespective of what is going on in the atmosphere our planet would still require a cleansing makeover to ensure continued habitation in as many regions as possible. So, to be thought environmentally friendly a material is either biodegradable, or non-biodegradable but recyclable. However, a double-smart green material might be both, its lifecycle concluded by an agency that triggers is degrading after repeated full function. Similarly a material might absorb pollutants, but can it emit mitigants as well, or be applied in other ways?
Materials Science sets out to ask the ‘next question’ and the one after that, to look for hidden applications and share the answers as they are revealed.