Materials science is a multidisciplinary area that strongly interacts with technology. By providing faster and more reliable means of communication through new electronic, optical, and magnetic materials, materials science plays a crucial role in improving economic performances, quality of life and employment, particulary in areas such as living environments, health, communication and transport. Materials Science and Engineering is also a well-recognized discipline with its dual grounding in basic science and engineering, and by virtue of its own intellectual cohesiveness. The history of Materials Science is highlighted by exciting and often unexpected developments, which were not foreseen by classical roadmaps. The paper will focus its discussion on three such examples: Light Emitting Diodes, Microelectronics and Solar Cells.