Focusing on recent advances in Materials science which is a syncretic discipline hybridizing metallurgy, ceramics, solid-state physics, and chemistry. It is the first example of a new academic discipline emerging by fusion rather than fission. Materials scientists emphasize understanding how the history of a material influences its structure, and thus the material's properties and performance. The understanding of processing-structure-properties relationships is called the materials paradigm.
Polymers are studied in the fields of biophysics and macromolecular science, and polymer science which include polymer chemistry and polymer physics. Historically, products arising from the linkage of repeating units by covalent chemical bonds have been the primary focus of polymer science; emerging important areas of the science now focus on non-covalent links. Polyisoprene of latex rubber is an example of a natural/biological polymer, and the polystyrene of styrofoam is an example of a synthetic polymer. In biological contexts, essentially all biological macromolecules—i.e., proteins (polyamides), nucleic acids (polynucleotides), and polysaccharides—are purely polymeric, or are composed in large part of polymeric components—e.g., isoprenylated/lipid-modified glycoproteins, where small lipidic molecules and oligosaccharide modifications occur on the polyamide backbone of the protein. The simplest theoretical models for polymers are ideal chains.