Materials and Metallurgy to move from New Museums Site

Michael Kitromilidis - News Reporter 2 November 2009

The Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy (DMSM) is to get a new home in a modern and autonomous building after the plans for its transfer have been approved.

The department is one of the best science departments in the country, according to the most recent UK research assessment (2008), where 95% of their research was rated “internationally excellent” or “world leading”.

Currently, the entire department is spread over five buildings in the New Museums Site on Downing Street, which causes several practical problems for its operation.

Moreover, the facilities used by the department are not always suitable for their research projects, since they require equipment of high quality and precision which cannot be easily used in the current site.

The university has decided to invest £44 million in building a new science centre exclusively for the department. The new structure will be located on the West Cambridge Site. Despite being less accessible than its current location in the city centre, it will be capable of meeting all the high standards set by the department for its research and education purposes.

As stated in an official university notice publicised in the Cambridge News, “the building will include a specialist facility to house very sensitive electron microscopes which have demanding vibration, acoustic, and electromagnetic environmental needs”.

The most important benefit from the transfer is that it will join a very active and prolific community of scientific institutions.

The West Cambridge Site already houses among others, the Cavendish (Physics Department), the Computer Laboratory and the Nanoscience Centre. It is expected that by joining this group of scientific centres, the DMSM will be part of common projects between them, leading to potentially higher achievements.

The Head of the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, Prof. Lindsay Greer, spoke to The Cambridge Student (TCS): “The Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy is at present spread across five buildings on the New Museums Site. Much of our accommodation is unsuitable for modern scientific research and is expensive to maintain and adapt.

“So, while we will miss being right in the centre of town, our move to West Cambridge is a big step forward – for the very first time in over 50 years we will be housed in a single building designed for the purpose. We are at present working with our architects NBBJ to refine a design that will provide us with high-quality accommodation easily adaptable to future needs…We expect work to begin in March 2010, and we expect to move into the new building in the middle of 2012.”

Michael Kitromilidis – News Reporter