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Archive for the 'Media Mentions' Category

Ohio worries about gaining, retaining nanotech talent

Posted by RichardTerra on April 8th, 2002

In the wake of recent raids for top nanotechnology research talent among academic research programs (see Nanodot posts from 26 March and 27 March 2002), an article in the Cleveland, Ohio Plain Dealer ("Universities need to court top-tier researchers", by Barb Galbincea, 31 March 2002), universities in Ohio are a bit worried about being able to attract and retain its own researchers in the field. "We need the people who conduct the research," said UO Akron President Luis Proenza. Just as important, adds KSU President Carol Cartwright, is having the wherewithal to keep a prized researcher. "You live in fear that they will be recruited by someone else," she said. "I've got a 'watch' list in my head." The article notes that "For colleges and universities, especially many strapped state-assisted institutions, attracting and keeping top-tier scholars can be a difficult business. The best researchers expect larger salaries and expensive labs."

Houston looking for nanotech leadership

Posted by RichardTerra on April 8th, 2002

An article in the Houston Business Journal ("Houston poised to play key role in 'nanotechnology revolution' ", by Jennifer Darwin, 29 March 2002) asserts that:

Houston is in a position to lead what is being called the "nanotechnology revolution." But the city can only maintain that status as long as local scientists keep coming up with new innovations and industry players establish new collaborations.

Well, maybe. The article goes on to report on the comments of experts in the nanotechnology field at the Houston Technology Center Forum on 21 March 2002 entitled "Houston: Leading the Nanotechnology Revolution."

A pair of muddled articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Posted by RichardTerra on April 2nd, 2002

An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer ("The tiniest building blocks", by Faye Flam, 1 April 2002) presents a rather muddled view of recent research by David Luzzi and others at the University of Pennsylvania into novel carbon structures, including fullerene molecules inside nanotubes, which the article rather grandiosely describes as "a new form of matter". The article also makes a number of highly disparaging remarks about the prospects for advanced nanotechnology systems . . . as if carbon nanotube research were the end point, rather than a faltering first step. The article is accompanied by a short sidebar that gives an equally muddled presentation on the use of self-assembly to create some interesting nanotube arrays.

[Additional information about the nanotube ìpeapodî research referred to in the article can be found in Nanodot posts from 3 January and 1 March 2002.]

Nano: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise?

Posted by RichardTerra on April 1st, 2002

Gina Miller writes "Nanotechnology: Is It Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? is the topic of an article at Power Electronics Technology dated March 1, 2002. Sam Davis, the Editor, invokes the $500 million National Nanotechnology Initiative and Pres. Bush's proposed increase in the program as evidence that nanotechnology should be taken seriously. Davis explains how re-arranging atoms could provide us with new semiconductors and improved integrated circuits. He cites the book Unbounding the Future: The Nanotechnology Revolution, by Drexler, Peterson, and Pergamit (1991) and quotes Ralph C. Merkle of the Zyvex Corp on what nanotechnology will mean. And last but not least he notes the problems nanotechnology could bring in the form of deliberate abuse or accidents, and the Foresight Institute's draft of guidelines for developing nanotechnology to minimize those problems. He summarizes by asking "Although nanotechnology products are years away, is this a good thing, or bad? Is it an ethical problem, similar to nuclear energy with its good and bad points? Is it a threat to power electronics engineering and manufacturing as we know it? Is the 'march of science' going too far?" Is he worried primarily about threats to the job security of power electronics engineers?"

Business Week takes a positive look at nanotech

Posted by RichardTerra on March 30th, 2002

from the positively-breathless dept.
A special edition of Business Week Magazine includes a number of items on nanotechnology, including an enthusiastic feature article ("The Tech Outlook: Nano Technology: No, its not all hype: these supertiny gizmos will transform our way of life", by Otis Port with Roger O. Crockett, 25 March 2002). The article notes the ongoing land-rush mentality of venture capitalists and large tech-oriented corporations into micro- and nano-scale technology R&D, as they are "pumping significant sums into nanotech research, as are governments around the world. A new study from CMP Cientifica [the Nanotechnology Opportunity Report], a market researcher in Madrid, says last year's worldwide government figure topped $1.2 billion (page 184). This year, the private and public sectors will probably spend $2 billion apiece on nano. . . . All told, venture capitalists and corporate funds will probably plow $1 billion into nano investments this year, twice what they invested in 2000, says S. Joshua Wolfe, a partner at New York's Lux Capital Group."

The article surveys a limited range of recent research, mostly into carbon nanotubes and semiconductor nanowires, and notes the formation of the NanoBusiness Alliance last year, before concluding:

The ultimate dream of nano engineers is an "assembler," which was first described in the writings of nanotech pioneer K. Eric Drexler, head of Foresight Institute in Palo Alto, Calif. It's a teensy robot that could be programmed to assemble atoms into gears and other components of nanomachines. That vision is still science fiction, says Raymond A. Kurzweil, author and president of Kurzweil Technologies Inc. But if assemblers can be developed, "they'll solve humanity's material needs," he adds. From molecules of dust and dirt, they would harvest the atoms needed to assemble computers, appliances, and other goods.

New national center for micro, nanotech planned in UK

Posted by RichardTerra on March 30th, 2002

from the World-Watch dept.
According to an article in the Birmingham Post ("£80m bid for science center", by Richard Warburton, 18 March 2002), the West Midlands region of the UK is set to become the heart of Britain's science technology industry with a new £80 million (about U.S. $144 million) manufacturing complex that will create 10,000 jobs. The article says, "Plans have been drawn up for the world's largest centre for nanoscience to be based along the A38 technology corridor in Birmingham. . . . The city's universities, businesses and MPs [Members of Parliament] are pushing for the national centre for microsystems and nanotechnology which would draw on the region's international reputation for modern research and secure its place as the country's manufacturing hub."

Small Times covers nanotech education in U.S., East Asia

Posted by RichardTerra on March 30th, 2002

from the learning-curve dept.
The online version of Small Times has begun an interesting new series of articles focusing on university-level educational efforts to develop and expand a workforce for emerging micro- and nano-scale technologies.

  • The first article in the series ("U.S. universities develop small tech grad degrees", by Teri Sprackland, 28 March 2002) focuses on the increase of government money being used to finance university programs designed to increase U.S. competitiveness in small tech, as "the field is being recognized as worthy of its own specifically designated ñ but not yet standalone ñ graduate degrees." The article states, "Universities, capitalizing on existing research programs and faculty expertise, hope to attract and train students to satisfy small tech's growing demands. Those students will eventually form the infrastructure needed for long-term gains in the U.S. small tech industry."
  • The second article ("China, Taiwan focus on nanoscience, but most still go overseas to study", by Jen Lin-Liu, 29 March 2002) highlights how China and Taiwan are using established academic programs in other countries to train their own graduate students in the emerging micro- and nano-technology sectors.

NSF grant will help establish nanotech program in Idaho

Posted by RichardTerra on March 27th, 2002

from the small-potatoes dept.
According to a press release (14 March 2002), Boise State University has received a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) to help establish a state-wide nanotechnology research program in Idaho. An interdisciplinary team of Boise State scientists will be part of a statewide project to study and develop nanoscale materials. The Boise State phase of the project is financed by nearly $2 million in federal and matching state funds awarded to the university through the NSFís Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program to support competitive research in Idaho.

The Boise area hosts one of the fastest-growing regional high-tech economies in the U.S., and is home to Micron Semiconductor and the headquarters of Hewlett-Packardís Printing and Imaging Division.

Texas gains, loses in jockeying for nanotech leadership

Posted by RichardTerra on March 27th, 2002

from the win-some,-loose-some dept.
According to an article in the Austin Business Journal ("SWT, UT ramp up for nanotech", by Stacey Higginbotham, 22 March 2002), Southwest Texas State University (SWT) and a new partnership among three other Texas universities are seeking millions of dollars in federal and private funding to promote nanotechnology in Texas. According to the article, a partnership between Rice University, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas Dallas called SPRING, or the Strategic Partnership for Nanotechnology, is seeking "tens of millions" in federal and private grants to build or update nanotechnology centers at the three schools, says Paul Barbara, director of UT's Center for Nano and Molecular Sciences and Technology. SWT is seeking $5.5 million to create a research lab and workforce development program for nanotechnology called the Nanotechnology Failure Analysis, Materials, Evaluation and Education Center (NanoFAME).

But as the Austin American-Statesman reports ("MIT steals away prominent UT nanotech scientist", by Cara Anna, 25 March 2002), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has managed to convince prominent nanotech researcher Angela Belcher, a University of Texas professor and a member of UT's new Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology, to leave the University of Texas at Austin and join MIT's new NanoMechanical Technology Laboratory as an associate professor in the fall. Additional coverage of this latest nanotech talent raid can be found in an Associated Press article ("Texas nanotech team heading to Northeast", 25 March 2002) that appeared in the Boston Herald.

More background on U.S. nanotech funding for FY2003

Posted by RichardTerra on March 27th, 2002

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has posted a presentation ("Research and Development FY 2003 National Nanotechnology Investment in the FY 2003 Budget Request by the President") made by M.C. Roco, NSF; Chair, National Science and Technology Council's subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET) on February 13, 2002 at the AAAS/ASME Briefing, Washington, D.C. The presentation basically reiterates the information already note here on Nanodot on 5 February 2002.

A popular update on things nanotech

Posted by RichardTerra on March 27th, 2002

from the mass-media-mush dept.
An article on the Washington Post ("Big Potential From Small Things", by Ariana Eunjung Cha, 21 March 2002) presents a superficial but reasonably well-written survey of "current events" in nanotechnolgy, focusing on increases in federal funding for nanotech research and the increasing interest from the venture capital community. As the article notes, "The debate has shifted from 'Will it happen?' to 'When will it happen?' " said Christine Peterson, president of the Foresight Institute.

The article was also reposted on the Small Times website.

Background on emerging european

Posted by RichardTerra on March 27th, 2002

from the World-Watch dept.
While thereís little said in it about nanotech per se, an article in the London-based Financial Times ("'Valley' in the Alps", by Jo Johnson, 26 February 2002) provides some interesting background on the history and current climate of the region around Grenoble, France as a long-standing technology center and incubator. Previous coverage of French high-tech center appeared here on Nanodot on 28 January 2002.

James Heath will step down as CNSI head, maybe, in a while . . .

Posted by RichardTerra on March 26th, 2002

from the what's-really-going-on-here? dept.
An extensive article on the Small Times website ("Second top official to step down at California NanoSystems Institute", by Jayne Fried, 22 March 2002) reports that molecular computing researcher James Heath will step down as an acting co-director of the California NanoSystems Institute ( at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) . . . but not right away. Heath will be leaving UCLA to devote more time to research, and will join the faculty at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "It's a tough thing to do, to go to Caltech," Heath told Small Times. "This (CNSI) is my baby, but it comes down to when I go to bed at night I think about institute problems."

According to the article, Heath expressed disappointment and frustration with the pace at which technology is moving from research labs to the marketplace within the University of California system. "UC has not been very strong in transferring intellectual property out into the world and making it happen," Heath said. Part of the reason is that the UC system is a "big company that is not quite as nimble as it could be."

The report notes that Heath's departure leaves the multi-million dollar CNSI with co-director Evelyn Hu, a nanotech electrical and computer engineer at UC Santa Barbara, and Roy Doumani, acting chief operating officer. Hu is one of the founders of CNSI. "I won't deny Jim's leaving is something that is very sobering because he's had such an influence," Hu said. "We worked so closely together." The article also notes that although Heath will be at Caltech, Doumani said Heath "will remain active and be able to stay as a member of CNSI." The plan appears to be an open door policy in which scientists outside the UC system will participate in CNSI. "I hope to find a way to get Caltech involved in the institute," Heath said.

As the title of the Small Times article reflects, Heath is the second major figure to announce departure from a CNSI leadership position in recent months. In January 2002, Martha Krebs left as director of CNSI for a broader role at UCLA. Krebs was also associate vice chancellor of UCLA for research, and said she will be devote herself full time to that job. Krebs was a key figure in establishing CNSI, and had moved to California a year ago from Washington, D.C., to become director of the institute. Previously, as science director at the U.S. Department of Energy, Krebs helped establish the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative.

Newt Gingrich talks nanotech to Red Herring

Posted by RichardTerra on March 22nd, 2002

Gina Miller flagged a lengthy interview in the March 2002 issue of Red Herring Magazine ("Nano-Newt!", by Stephan Herrera, 18 March 2002) presents the views of New Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, on nanotechnology, science education, ìhomeland securityî, and a number of other issues. Gingrich became honorary chairman of the NanoBusiness Alliance, a trade organization dedicated to nanotechnology, in December 2001 (see Nanodot post from 14 December 2001), and his influence on the direction of U.S. nanotechnology policy, already significant, is likely to grow.

Cautious analysts say advanced nanotech is still “decades off”

Posted by RichardTerra on March 19th, 2002

An brief article on the Small Times website ("Nanotechnologyís potential needs decades of work before itís realized, expert panel says", by Candace Stuart, 19 March 2002) reports that a panel of "nanotechnology leaders", speaking at a conference in Washington, D.C. on "Small Wonders: Exploring the Vast Potential of Nanoscience" sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), said not to expect much from nanotechnology in the short term. The report says the experts opined that "Nanotechnology probably has decades to go before promise becomes product; but if and when it does, the impact could be staggering."

Similar sentiments were expressed in an article in the Dallas Morning News ("Nanotech may need a little time", by Alan Goldstein, 13 March 2002), focusing on venture capitalists and investors at the Nanoventures 2002 conference held in Dallas, Texas, 6-8 March 2002 (see Nanodot post from 8 March 2002).

India hopes to develop

Posted by RichardTerra on March 19th, 2002

from the World-Watch dept.
An brief article in The Times of India ("Need to develop nanotechnology", 5 March 2002) reports that Rajeev Ratan Shah, Secretary, Department of Information, speaking at a seminar in Kanpur on 3 March 2002, admitted that "India was lagging behind in the development of nanotechnology", and called upon nano-scientists "to come out with concrete recommendations for quick growth of nanotechnology in the country. He also stressed that the government would provide funds for research in this field." According to the report, "Shah said there was an urgent need for an integrated approach for the growth of nanotechnology in India, adding that scientists from various institutes should come on a joint forum to share their experiences and knowledge in this field. He lamented that India was lagging behind in nanotechnology and it was high time that Indian scientists took initiatives for advanced research in the field."

New York Times covers nanotech

Posted by RichardTerra on March 19th, 2002

An article in the New York Times ("Tiny Technologies Slip Unseen Into Daily Life", by Barnaby J. Feder, 11 March 2002) takes a decidedly short-term view of nanotechnology, focusing on the many companies attempting to commercialize nano-structured materials. The article makes only a few passing references to the potential for advanced nanoscale devices, but does note the increasing level of interest from venture capitalists and investors: "The things I said a few years ago would be prototypes in 2005 are here now," James C. Ellenbogen, who heads the nanotechnology division at the Mitre Corporation, which specializes in government-supported technical research. "There has been a sharp upsurge in the number of venture capitalists at science meetings."

[Note: Access to the NYT site is free, but requires registration.]

UK, Taiwan explore cooperation in nanotech

Posted by RichardTerra on March 8th, 2002

from the World-Watch dept.
According to a brief report in the Taipei Times ("British science minister seeks closer cooperation", by Chiu Yu-Tzu, 8 March 2002), the highest ranking British official ever to visit Taiwan, the UK's parliamentary under-secretary of state for science and innovation is pushing stronger research ties in a number of fields, including nanotechnology. According to the report, during a visit to Taiwan on 7 March 2002, the UK's Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, Lord Sainsbury, said both Taiwan and the UK would benefit from deeper scientific collaboration on a variety of scientific topics, including nanotechnology, bio-technology, and information technology.

New Zealand program for research centers includes nanotech

Posted by RichardTerra on March 8th, 2002

from the World-Watch dept.
According to a pair of articles from the New Zealand Herald on 6 March and 7 March 2002, competition among New Zealandís academic institutions has been keen to win a role as host institutions in the Government's funding of five university research programmes from its $60 million Centres of Research Excellence (Core) fund. The NZ Government pledged to invest almost $61 million in five research centres, based across three of the country's eight universities. One of the centers selected will be devoted to nanoscale science and technology.

An NT update from Houston

Posted by RichardTerra on March 8th, 2002

An article in the Houston Business Journal ("Nanotechnology beginning to take center stage in Houston", by Jennifer Darwin, 1 March 2002) provides a brief look at NT-related activity in and around Houston, particularly at Rice University. The article notes that Nobel-laureate and fullerene nanotube researcher Richard Smalley has stepped down as head of the director of Rice's Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, reported to focus on research and the commercial ventures in which he is a partner. The article also has an interesting quote from Smalleyís replacement as director of the CNST — Wade Adams, who was the chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force's materials laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio before joining Rice. According to the article:

Adams' goal is to find situations to which Rice's nanotechnology can be applied. He will look for opportunities for funding, partnering, collaborating, and ultimately, spinning off new companies focused on nanotechnology. "We think nanotechnology is going to have a huge payoff, tying to the medical profession and biology," Adams says. "It is extremely obvious that we need to be doing more to bring the nano expertise we have at Rice to the (Texas) Medical Center."