On computers and their use

The metallurgists should stop doing now what the computers can do. The metallurgists should concern themselves with applying the thermodynamic principles to phase equilibria, but they should rely on computers in carrying out the mathematics. This will reduce considerably the amount of time that an individual metallurgist has to spend in order to acquire a working knowledge in this field. It will also reduce the length of scientific papers and the time necessary for reading and understanding such papers. It may also simplify the teaching. As an example, the much used Gibbs-Duhem relation is not really thermodynamics but rather a rule of calculation. I doubt that it is meaningful to emphasize the Gibbs-Duhem relation in teaching metallurgy once the computer technique is available. In fact, I seriously doubt that the Gibbs-Duhem relation will find much use even in the computer programs.

— Mats Hillert in 1970 (Chapter 5. Calculation of Phase Equilibria, Phase Transformations, American Society for Metals, Ohio).


About Guru

I am an Assistant Professor in a Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science Department; I also pursue research in the broad area of computational materials science.
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