Materials of the Universe

A paradigm shift in understanding the universe

Materials of the Universe (MotU) unites cosmology, astrophysics, astronomy, planetary science and exploration, mineralogy and petrology, with materials science and engineering, chemistry, physics, and biology to address grand questions of the complex chemistries and evolution of planets.

Stars produce the elements that form all materials. Planets, moons, and every object in the universe form through physical and chemical processing of this suite of elements, which makes the knowledge of materials essential to understand the universe. The diversity of planetary bodies in our solar system and the ubiquity of exoplanets now liberate us from narrow thinking focused only on Earth materials. We need to understand their formation, stability, catalytic activity, and rheology over a range of temperature, pressure, and compositions not yet imagined. Creating new materials, often far from equilibrium, with compositions unknown on Earth but possible elsewhere, requires fundamental understanding of structure, bonding, and function. Such new materials, in turn, may aid space exploration by providing better sensors and detectors, as well as stronger, lighter, and more robust materials for aerospace applications. Materials research under extreme conditions will enable us to design new systems for space exploration, travel, and settlement.

MotU, as a unifying discipline, will attract and inspire scientists across all STEM fields as it synergistically applies materials research methods, and explores alien and extreme conditions and environments with the expectation of discovering new, useful materials and understanding the formation and evolution of planets.

MotU is a collaborate research and education initiative of the School of Molecular Sciences, the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy and the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University.

Join Us

Two Open Rank Positions Job#16884 – Materials Chemistry

The School of Molecular Sciences (SMS) at Arizona State University, invites applications for  two open rank positions as full-time faculty, (we anticipate at least one will be at the Assistant  Professor rank), in the broad field of experimental materials chemistry that will connect to and  support the goals of ASU’s new Center for Materials of the Universe (MoTU). The anticipated start date is August 2022. Both positions are  academic year, benefits-eligible, tenure-track or tenured positions.

Click here to learn more and apply.

In the News

Alexandra Navrotsky increases ASU donation to $10M to help ensure future of materials science

Navrotsky has made a $10 million donation to Arizona State University to help further the growth of material science at the university.

 

Workshop for the Materials of the Universe

The Materials of the Universe (MotU) workshop brought together 55 experts from astrophysics, planetary science, physics, chemistry, biology, materials science and engineering  in Tempe, Arizona from 24-26 April 2019.  The aim was to define grand questions and challenges in the combined fields of materials research and planetary science for the coming decade.

Interstellar iron isn't missing, it's just hiding in plain sight

A team of cosmochemists at Arizona State University, with support from the W.M. Keck Foundation, now claims that the mystery is simpler than it seems. The iron isn't really missing, they say. Instead it's hiding in plain sight. The iron has combined with carbon molecules to form molecular chains called iron pseudocarbynes. The spectra of these chains are identical with the much more common chains of carbon molecules, long known to be abundant in interstellar space.

Faculty

Alexandra Navrotsky

Space Exploration

Dan Shim
SESE

Hilairy Hartnett
SMS & SESE

Everett Shock
SMS & SESE

Steven Desch
SESE

Patrick Young
SESE

James Tyburczy
SESE

Evgenya Shkolnik
SESE

Richard Hervig
SESE

Thomas Sharp
SESE

Ramon Arrowsmith
SESE
Joseph O'Rourke
SESE
 
Molecular & Materials Science, Engineering

William Petuskey
SMS

Don Seo
SMS

Andrew Chizmeshya
SMS

Ian Gould
SMS

Scott Sayres
SMS

Arunima Singh
Physics

Michael Treacy
Physics

Antia Sanchez Botana
Physics

Qing Hua Wang
SEMTE

Neal Woodbury
SMS
Candace Chan
SEMTE