Welcome to the January issue of Materials World.

In this issue, former international cricketer and materials scientist, Dr Darshil Shah GradIMMM, raises interesting points about how some materials, in this case the English white willow for the cricket bat, can assume a monopoly not simply because of their properties, but also because of entrenched values and traditions. He notes that structural bamboo offers a viable alternative and is plentiful in emerging cricketing nations. But how would that impact the well-guarded craftsmenship of bat manufacture? And will the cricket fans among our readers see this as a step too far?

We also hear about the synergies in applying materials and minerals science to other high-profile disciplines – notably from a space explorer and the 2021 Great British Bake Off Winner.

And don’t forget, the e-zine version of the magazine also includes additional digital content, streaming podcasts on Sustainability in the Built Environment and how Supercars Drive Electric Vehicle Safety.

We hope you enjoy this issue and we wish you all a Happy New Year.