Two Centuries of Glass Research: Historical Trends, Current Status, and Grand Challenges for the Future

John C. Mauro, Edgar D. Zanotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


The field of glass science and technology has a remarkable history spanning about two centuries of research. In this article, we analyze the number of research papers and patents related to glassy and amorphous materials in the published literature. The publication rate has increased roughly exponentially since 1945. Within the most recent decade, China has become the clear dominant player in the global glass research community, while the publication rate has declined in many of the historically most prolific countries. Oxide glasses, metallic glasses, amorphous carbon, and amorphous silicon have drawn the most research attention overall and are still given the greatest focus today. Publication data are also analyzed in terms of the properties under study, author keywords, affiliation, and primary characterization techniques. We find that the level of published (fundamental) glass research from industrial laboratories has dropped significantly, despite the opportunities for new breakthroughs to solve some of the most challenging problems facing the world today. But, surprisingly, the number of patents issued worldwide has surpassed the number of published scientific articles, indicating a very high level of activity in technological research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-327
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Glass Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science


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