This opinion piece published by New Scientist begins, “We devise so many new materials nowadays that it is hard to know which one would define our times.“
This short op-ed reads:
THE Stone Age; the Bronze Age; the Iron Age. Mastery over a new material has at times changed human society so radically as to be practically synonymous with whole swathes of our history.
Are those times over? Today, we rely more than ever on inventing, rather than discovering, new materials. Precision engineering on microscopic scales even lets us devise metamaterials that behave in ways that nature can’t match – like those that manipulate light to make much-celebrated “invisibility cloaks”.
But while the creation of useful materials has become something of an everyday miracle.., our era could still plausibly be badged the Silicon Age or, more gloomily, the Age of Carbon Dioxide. Perhaps we are at the dawn of the Graphene Age, or the Age of Hydrogen. Only future historians will know for sure.