It’s a Material World: A Materials Science Podcast for Everyone

Sabine Mair
on August 27, 2021

Materials are the building blocks that make up the world as we know it. From the steel and aluminum structure that you use to drive to work everyday to the silicon in the device you’re using right now, materials innovation plays an essential role in our everyday lives. The podcast ‘It’s a Material World’, hosted by Punith Upadhya and David Yeh, explores a variety of interesting materials-related topics, including polymers in healthcare, the history of ceramics, and metal applications in space.

We spoke to Punith and David to hear about the motivation behind starting the podcast and what they hope to achieve with it.

About the It’s a Material World Podcast

This podcast aims to uncover why materials science will change the world. The field of materials science and engineering is incredibly versatile, as its impact is evident in several industries. David and Punith bring on passionate guests to uncover MSE applications in aerospace, renewable energy, healthcare, and more.

From using nanotechnology in the fight against COVID-19 to exploring how materials innovations help engineer better clothing, each episode gives listeners a glimpse into some of the ways in which materials science influences the world around them.

Meet the IAMW Hosts

Punith Upadhya

Punith: I am a Design Assurance Engineer at Boston Scientific and a graduate of Georgia Tech with a Master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering. I am passionate about the intersection of materials and healthcare, especially heart-related medical devices. Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, going to baseball games, and exploring the city.

David Yeh

David: I am currently a Master’s student at Georgia Tech in Materials Science and Engineering. I am passionate about energy storage and the intersection of business and engineering. I enjoy growing bonsai trees, trying new restaurants, and watching Primitive Technology on YouTube in my free time.

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Why did you start the podcast?

The evolution of this materials science podcast stemmed from newfound free time during the summer 2020 quarantine. We were motivated by the idea of showcasing the versatility and impact of MSE. We wanted to encourage more students to pursue a career in the field of materials science.

As college students, we knew we had only scratched the surface in terms of how materials science plays a role in our everyday lives. This podcast gave us the opportunity to chat with experts in the field and share their experiences with our community.

Do you have a favorite episode so far?

Punith: While it’s hard to choose just one, I’d say our episode on Nitinol and its applications in medical devices was a personal favorite. Dr Redmond gave valuable advice for MSEs who’d like to end up in the healthcare industry while also highlighting just how cool this shape memory alloy is. Two other fan favorites are our Glass episode with Dr John Mauro and our Materials in Space episode with former NASA Astronaut Dr Sandy Magnus.

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David: I joined the podcast back in March, but since then, we’ve had the pleasure of talking to numerous subject matter experts that bring so much energy to each of their fields. This makes it very hard to choose a favorite, but I would give a slight edge to our Smart Glass episode with Joe Harary. I truly believe that in order to create a greener planet, it will require multiple technologies coming together to overcome the performance of what is easily available and commonly used at the expense of our environment. I’ve focused on the battery side of the problem, but it was fascinating to hear what other solutions can be used to help solve our issues.

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What are your future plans for this podcast?

As this podcast grows, we want to involve our community more and more, whether through topic and guest recommendations, questions from the audience, or follow-up discussions within our Discord community.

We’re looking to bring on influential and passionate experts in the materials science space while iteratively receiving feedback from our listeners so we can keep these episodes informative and entertaining. We also hope to populate the It’s a Material World blog in order to offer value-add resources for materials enthusiasts and provide a forum for our community members to share their experiences and advice.

What else is in store for It’s a Material World?

Helping prospective and current Materials Science and Engineering students has been one of our goals since Day 1. As a result, we’ll be launching an MSE career development online course in Fall 2021 with video testimonials and resumes from MSEs in various companies (SpaceX, Nike, Tesla, P&G, Boeing, 3D Systems, etc.) to provide a blueprint for success as an MSE in any industry.

We’re also working on designing merchandise so that students and professionals alike can show off their love for materials science with pride!

Where can we listen to your podcast?

You can listen to the It’s a Material World podcast on your favorite platform, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We also post video versions of the podcast on YouTube.

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