What would you suggest as a good introduction to materials science? (Prior usage and examples would be wonderful, my particular focus is neutron scattering).

What I've Found So Far:

  • Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction by Callister (Seems to have good reviews)

2 Answers 2


I'd be inclined to recommend a good solid state physics book, like Chaikin & Lubensky for scattering, and there are other topics that are probably not so bad for a materials scientist to have under their belt, presented in the kind of extreme-simplified "spherical cow" approach that physicists cherish.

But if you're looking specifically for something the Materials Science majors typically read, then yeah, Callister is pretty popular.

EDIT It's also worth mentioning that for individual topics, there are usually reviews and pedagogical papers that cover the material better than any textbook. For neutron scattering, my first exposure was a short review called "Neutron Scattering - A Primer". Now I see that the entire issue of the magazine it was in was dedicated to neutrons and is free online.


So I hope this helps!

  • $\begingroup$ Could you elaborate on what else you would suggest? At the moment I'm personally looking for subsurface neutron scattering so that would be best. Is the Chaikin and Lubensky just for condensed matter , as per the name, or solid state as a whole? Also could you suggest a range of books? $\endgroup$ Jul 8, 2012 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ @EiyrioüvonKauyf Anything you can point to on "subsurface neutron scattering"? I'm not an expert, but I generally think of neutrons as a bulk (rather than surface) probe anyway. Condensed Matter encompasses more than just Solid State (C&L are actually soft-matter guys, so there's a lot of neat stuff in that book that you won't find in, say Kittel or Ashcroft & Mermin, and I think they cover the solid state material better anyway). I can't give a better range for specifically MatSci books; I didn't study it as an undergrad but Callister is what everybody I know who did used. $\endgroup$
    – wsc
    Jul 9, 2012 at 4:08
  • $\begingroup$ Currently I'm going to look at Chaikin and Lubensky / Marder as I believe they each have a small section on neutron scattering. Anything else you would suggest? Slight problem is I believe they both assume a Statistical Mechanics Pre-req, so I'm actually looking at that now $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2012 at 10:50
  • $\begingroup$ @EiyrioüvonKauyf see the link in my edit $\endgroup$
    – wsc
    Jul 10, 2012 at 14:37
  • $\begingroup$ at first glance, looks great, I shall read it. Thanks! What would you suggest for a better math foundation behind it? As the mathematical foundation on the same page does not have derivations I believe. $\endgroup$ Jul 10, 2012 at 15:49

You might want to target a book on $Characterization Methods$ also.

John Hudson out of RPI taught an excellent course which was right to the point, but I don't know if he ever published the materials. I'm sure there are books that survey the field.


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