Virginia Tech offers mini-conference on nanoscience/engineering

October 23, 2000

BLACKSBURG, Va. Oct. 24, 2000--Scientists from across the country will be featured during the Virginia Tech Mini-Conference on Nanoscience/Engineering Nov. 13-14 at the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center on the campus of Virginia Tech. Nanoscience is the study of molecular structures and their potential uses, such as in molecular electronics and the creation of new molecules to perform a such tasks as medicine transport, energy coversion, and information processing and storage. The studies cross scientific disciplines such as chemistry, physics, and biology.

The Virginia Tech conference is designed to raise the awareness of scientists and engineers in Virginia to the interests that exist worldwide in promoting synergism through collaboration among researchers in the field of nanoscience and engineering. President Bill Clinton has announced "a major new national nanotechnology initiative worth $500 million." Clinton said, "Imagine the possibilities: materials with 10 times the strength of steel and only a small fraction of the weight--shrinking all the information housed at the Library of Congress into a device the size of a sugar cube--detecting cancerous tumors when they are only a few cells in size."

"Nanotechnology is the way of ingeniously controlling the building of small and large structures with intricate properties," according to Roald Hoffman, Chemistry Nobel Prize winner from Cornell University. "It is the way of the future, a way of precise, controlled building with environmental benignness built in by design."

Conference speakers from outside Virginia Tech are George Gruner of the University of California at Los Angeles, speaking on "Electrons on the DNA Double Helix: from Physics to Quantum Biology and Nanotechnology"; Alex Zettl of the University of California at Berkeley on "Carbon Nanotubes in Electronic, Chemical and Mechanical Systems: Intriquing Physics and Unusual Applications"; Jack Fisher of the University of Pennsylvania on "Nano- and Macro-Scale Science and Technology of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes"; Dirk Guldi of the University of Notre Dame on "Carbon Nanostructures: from Fullerenes to Nanotubes: the Implementation into Donor/Acceptor Ensembles"; Stephen W. P. Turner of Cornell University on "Applications of Nanosystems to Biotechnology and Medicine"; Robert Haddon of the University of Kentucky on "Chemistry of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes"; and Otto Zhou of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on "Materials Science of Carbon Nanotubes: Synthesis, Properties, and Potential Applications."

Presenters from Virginia Tech and their topics are Richard Zallen, physics, "Spectroscopic Probes of Nanocrystal Size"; Alan Esker, chemistry, "Polymer Transport Through Ultra-thin Membranes"; Stephane Evoy, electrical and computer engineering, "Nanotechnology in Microsystems: Propsects and Challenges of Nanomechanical Devices"; Randy Heflin, physics, "Self-assembled Polymer and Fullerene Nanostructures for Optoelectronic Devices"; Massimiliano Di Ventra, physics, "Electronic Transport in Molecular Devices"; Tom Ward, chemistry, "Surfact Assemblies of Microphase Separated Block Copolymers"; Sean Corcoran, materials science and engineering, "Small Angle Neutron Scattering of Bicontinuous Nanoporous Noble Metals"; and Harry Dorn, chemistry, "Nanospheres: Properties and Preparation." Horst Stomer, Physics Nobel Prize Winner from Columbia University, said, "Nanotechnology has given us the tools to play with the ultimate toy box of nature--atoms and molecules. The possibilities to create new things appear limitless."

"If I were asked for an area of science and engineering that will most likely produce the breakthroughs of tomorrow, I would point to nanoscience and engineering," according to Neal Lane, assistant to President Clinton for Science and Technology.

The Virginia Tech conference is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

Pre-registration (at no cost) of all attendees, including the media, is required so that space requirements can be met. To register, call Linda Sheppard in the Department of Chemistry at 540-231-5966.
PR CONTACT: Sally Harris

Faculty contacts:
Lay Nam Chang, physics head

Larry Taylor, chemistry head

Virginia Tech

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