Materials is…

Yesterday, I wrote:

When I think of engineering at Apple, I usually think of software and electrical engineering, but materials is also crucial.

This reads fine to me, but I realised it could be interpreted as being wrong. Shouldn’t it be “materials are also crucial”?

Well, no. I suppose ‘materials’ is a contraction of ‘materials science’, and this is what I have now edited the post to read. Amongst fellow engineering students, we use words like this all the time. ‘Structures’ is short for ‘structural mechanics’ and is singular (not plural). A similar case that is very common is ‘electronics’, which is a singular word, not the plural of ‘electronic’.