What is the difference between a chemist and a materials scientist?

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Most chemists and materials scientists work together as part of a research team. It is also common for chemists and materials scientists to work on teams with other scientists, such as biologists, physicists, computer specialists, and engineers.

Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in chemistry that are approved by the American Chemical Society with some colleges offering materials science as a specialization within their chemistry programs. Some engineering schools also offer degrees in the joint field of materials science and engineering.

The differences between a chemist and a materials scientists are as follows:

Chemist
Chemistry is concerned with reactions between elements and molecules, and how they can be controlled and improved upon. Chemists research and experiment with the properties of chemical substances, improve the quality of established chemical products, measure the effects of chemical compounds in various situations, study inter-chemical reactions, and establish new technologies in the field.

They work with simple forms of matter to either reach a greater understanding of the chemical itself, uncover the elements of unfamiliar substances, or create entirely new chemical compounds for use in a variety of applications. Many industries benefit from the theories and chemical compounds brought about by research done by chemists.

Chemists often specialize in a particular branch of the field - for example, inorganic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, forensic chemistry, theoretical chemistry, biochemistry, neurochemistry, and nuclear chemistry.

Materials Scientist
Materials science is concerned with how microscopic elements such as atoms and molecules together account for macroscopic properties of materials. It mainly deals with how objects are made, as in what materials and what processes are used.

Materials scientists study and analyze the chemical properties and structure of different man-made and natural materials, such as glass, rubber, ceramic, alloys, polymers, and metals. They then take this knowledge and devise ways to strengthen existing materials, combine particular materials, or create brand new materials with certain properties and characteristics for use in different applications and products. They have created many of the items that people use today such as shoes, soap, canisters, containers, makeup, packaging materials, and so on.

Materials scientists tend to specialize by the material they work with most often - for example, ceramics, glasses, metals, nanomaterials (extremely small substances), polymers, and semiconductors.

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