It's the stuff that makes airplanes light enough to soar through the air.
It's also the stuff that makes space exploration possible and the stuff that makes re-entry into Earth possible for astronauts despite reaching temperatures of 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It makes all our gadgets—iPhones, Bluetooth, WiFi—possible. It's in the very keys used to type these words on a screen so you can now read them on another screen.
What is it? Materials! We are living in a material world, and whether you know it or not, you just might be a material girl (or boy! Or non-binary human!)
What is a "material"? Experts define a material as any substance "having properties that make them useful in machines, structures, devices and products." So ... pretty much anything you touch throughout the day contains "materials."
In its Materials That Made Us theme, Science News' Century of Science dives into our material world. Enabling driving, flying, space travel and even making pooping indoors a bit more pleasant, materials have transformed a lot in the last 100 years.