Big data drives materials science innovations


Open science and artificial intelligence tools are changing the ways we discover new materials, say researchers in DataSciMat, the interdisciplinary project at Aalto University, in a new article in Arkhimedes.

Arkhimedes_02_18_cover.pngNew scientific paradigms give birth to new ways of doing things, from basic research at universities to the ways we communicate and interact in everyday life – think of the silicon age we live in today and compare it to our letter-writing correspondence of the past.

Such shifts in behavior and how they arise are the subjects of social scientific research at Aalto University in a cross-disciplinary project called DataSciMat, funded by the Academy of Finland, which includes physics professor Patrick Rinke (CEST group) and management professor Nina Granqvist (Strategy) as well as the project’s investigator, innovation management specialist Dr Amber Geurts.

In this project, the team explores how big data-driven materials science provides unprecedented opportunities for novel materials discovery and design that can address current societal challenges from fundamental scientific discovery to product release. Geurts explains, ‘Using in-depth, semi-structured interviews and other social scientific methods, I conduct fieldwork around the world among the various members of this emerging field.’ The project’s aim is to determine where this emerging science is now, how it is developing, and what steps can be taken to quickly advance it. Geurts continues, ‘By doing so, our findings will have implications for both materials science and social scientific managerial research on field emergence.’

In a recent Arkhimedes article, the researchers explain what big data-driven materials science is and why and how this emerging field is not only interesting for material scientists, but for social scientists as well. The article looks to the current and future status of this emerging field, its potential for real societal impact, and the challenges of acceptance by scientists and funding agencies alike to further its drive for new materials science innovations.

Amber Geurts, Heidi Henrickson, Nina Granqvist and Patrick Rinke’s article ‘Exploring emerging scientific fields: Big data-driven materials science’ is published in ArkhimedesJournal of Physics and Mathematics 2/2018 (FI: Fysiikan ja Matematiikan Aikakauslehti / SV: Tidskrift för Fysik och Matematik).

For more information, please contact Dr. Amber Geurts and Prof. Patrick Rinke. Cover reproduced from ​Arkhimedes – Journal of Physics and Mathematics