Emphasis in modern day efforts in mechanics of materials is increasingly directed towards integration with computational materials science, which itself rests on solid physical and mathematical foundations in thermodynamics and kinetics of processes. Practical applications demand attention to length and time scales which are sufficiently large to preclude direct application of quantum mechanics approaches; accordingly, there are numerous pathways to mathematical modelling of the complexity of material structure during processing and in service. The conventional mathematical machinery of energy minimization provides guidance but has limited direct applicability to material systems evolving away from equilibrium. Material response depends on driving forces, whether arising from mechanical, electromagnetic, or thermal fields. When microstructures evolve, as during plastic deformation, progressive damage and fracture, corrosion, stress-assisted diffusion, migration or chemical/thermal aging, the associated classical mathematical frameworks are often ad hoc and heuristic. Advancing new and improved methods is a major focus of 21st century mechanics of materials of interfaces and evolving microstructure.