Materials science is rapidly transforming the way that everything from cars to light bulbs is made
1 Material difference
2 Nanoparticles: To the heart of the matter
3 Carbon fibre: Dark arts
4 3D printing: Print me a pavilion
5 What next: Bright angelic mills
"The shift to what is called the 'third platform'. The first platform for IT was the mainframe computer—a big, centralised processor with lots of dumb terminals connected to it. The second platform, which became dominant in the early 1990s, was the client-server model, in which processing power was divided between more slimline central 'servers' and the PCs on workers' desktops. The third platform is based on the online computing 'cloud' and its interaction with all manner of devices, including wirelessly connected ones such as smartphones, machinery and sensors (known collectively as the 'internet of things').