For writing a thesis (or a publication) in the field of materials science and engineering, students need a diverse set of skills in addition to mastering the scientific content. Generally, scientific writing requires proficiency in document organization, professional presentation of numerical and graphical data, literature retrieval and management, text processing, version control, graphical illustration, mathematical typesetting, the English language, elements of style, etc. Scientific writing in materials science and engineering, specifically, requires additional knowledge about e.g. conventions of numerical precision, error limits, mathematical typesetting, proper use of units, proper digital processing of micrographs, etc. Having to acquire these essential skills at the beginning of thesis (or publication) writing may compromise the outcome by distracting from the most important task of composing the best possible scientific content.
This course properly prepares students for scientific writing with a comprehensive spectrum of knowledge, skills, and tools enabling them to fully focus on the scientific content of their thesis or publication when the time has come to start writing. Similar to artistic drawing, where the ability to "see" is as (or more!) important as skills of the hand, the ability of proper scientific writing is intimately linked to the ability of critically reviewing scientific texts. Therefore, students will practice both authoring and critical reviewing of material science texts. To sharpen students' skills of reviewing, examples of good and less good scientific writing will be taken from published literature of materials science and engineering and analyzed in the context of knowledge acquired in the course. At the end of the course, students will have set up skills and a highly functional work environment to start writing their role thesis or article with full focus on the scientific content. While the course mainly targets students of materials science and engineering, students of other disciplines of science and engineering may also benefit from the course material. Offered as EMSE-368 and EMSE-468.