improved public understanding of science, better education of scientists and engineers for today's employment marketplace, and new contributions to the nation's industrial competitiveness.
There are four key challenges facing condensed-matter and materials physics:
• The intellectual vitality of the field must be nurtured, particularly by facilitating the research of individual investigators and small teams in areas that cross disciplinary boundaries.
• A state-of-the-art facilities infrastructure is essential for competitive research; such an infrastructure requires the creation of laboratory-scale micro-characterization facilities at universities and large-scale facilities at national laboratories.
• Efforts must be enhanced in research universities to improve integration of condensed-matter and materials physics education and research, particularly at the boundaries of disciplines, and to prepare flexible and adaptable physicists for the future.
• New modes of cooperation among universities, colleges, government laboratories, and industry need to be developed that will ensure the connection between the field and the needs of society and to ensure preservation of the fertile innovative climate of major industrial laboratories that have played a dominant role in condensed-matter and materials physics research.
In this report the committee makes a number of recommendations for steps to be taken to meet these challenges. They are outlined here and discussed more extensively in the Overview and in further detail in each of the chapters.
For the overall research effort to address the full range of problems facing the field, a hierarchy of approaches is necessary. The core of the research effort in condensed-matter and materials physics is in the work of individual investigators and small research groups. Some of the most innovative and creative developments originate in this mode of research. At the next levels, larger groups, centers, and entire laboratories cooperate on significant problems, aided by progressively more-complex instrumentation and facilities. Theoretical work and benchtop experiments are usually done by individual investigators. Small-scale centers located in universities and government laboratories play an essential role in a number of areas including microcharacterization, processing, synthesis, and state-of-the-art instrumentation development. The highest level in the hierarchy is exemplified by major facilities, including synchrotron light sources, centers for neutron-scattering research, and laboratories for high magnetic field studies. These major facilities address a broad range of problems. An area of particularly rapid growth is found in the use of these major facilities, particularly synchrotron light sources, in understanding soft condensed matter and biological systems. A key facilities problem is the critical gap in U.S. capabilities in the area of neutron sources.