State of Education: Nanotechnology
We recently paid a visit to the Ualbany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering for NanoCareer Day.
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"The idea is to get them interested and excited about real science by starting with basic elements, basic math and science and building on that to create the technology we used today, " Stephen Stewart said.
Or more specifically, nanotechnology, which is defined as "the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale." In this case, sand and legos were used as an example. Then , to more fully understand the laboratory atmosphere...there was the "bunny suit."
"We do the bunny suit to show how we go from the dirty world which we work in to the ultra clean world to be able to create devices that are so small that a single hair would be hundreds of thousands of times greater than that," said Stewart.
The demonstration included a full dressing from the head right down to the shoes.
"It was amazing not only to learn how dirty we are as humans, but how clean we have to be in order to work in a lab like that," said Lillian Childress.
Next up it was time for polymers- or molecules made up of much smaller units. These specifically are made from algae and scientifically known as "sodium algenate."
"And the point of this activity is to demonstrate how we make polymers and how we use them to do things in nanotechnology, like pattern wafers and make circuits.," said Nate Cady.
But the real point of this event is to get students- which by the way- came from various districts as Newburgh, Utica, and Kingston- interested in nanotechnology.
"Whether they go into conductor work, chemistry bio medicine...all this stuff that we do now directly relates to what they can be doing in the future." Stewart
"Nanotechnology has become all encompassing, just about every science field has a nano aspect to it, and so there's a real push to be educating the general public about nanotechnology and understanding what it's role might be on the rest society," Cady said.
In fact, it's estimated by 2015, products incorporating nanotechnology will contribute approximately one trillion dollars to the global economy,and over two million workers will be employed spefically in the nanotechnology sector, making it more and more on campus.