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A Unified Approach To Nanotechnology Education

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

TIME 8: Materials, MEMS, and Nano

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.119.1 - 9.119.10

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Paper Authors

author page

Ben Rogers

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Unified Approach to Nanotechnology Education

J.D. Adams & B. Rogers

Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Nevada Ventures Nanoscience Program, University of Nevada, Reno, 89557

Abstract We present an educational strategy intended to unify nanotechnology education not only as part of university curricula, but also for broader audiences. The implementation of this strategy includes the use of five primary content “blocks,” or modules, to teach the core principles of nanotechnology to audiences with varying levels of understanding. In a university setting, freshman in science and engineering disciplines take a departure course in which these blocks are introduced. They continue working toward majors in their own departments before returning for a design and synthesis course at the senior and graduate student levels. This course, developed at the University of Nevada, Reno, is entitled “Nanotechnology System Design and Synthesis.” It is an integrated microtechnology/ nanotechnology course in which the five blocks are reinforced and expanded upon, drawing on students’ new knowledge in their respective disciplines, while at the same time challenging them to apply their knowledge to a real-world nanotechnology system design. The senior-level course serves as the capstone experience course for a newly created nanotechnology minor, and a graduate version of the course serves as the departure point for graduate students. It uses a microcantilever transducer to bridge the micro- and nano-domains and provide a system-level understanding of nanotechnology. Outside a university setting, course material blocks can be adapted to serve the general public, K-12 students, and members of industry.

1.0 Introduction: Training for Tomorrow’s Technology In December of 2003, President Bush signed the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act.1 The bill puts into law the Presidential National Nanotechnology Initiative started under President Clinton and allocates $3.7 billion over the coming four years for research and development programs, including new research centers, education and training efforts, research into the societal and ethical consequences of nanotechnology, and technology transfer programs to move nanotechnology out of research institutions and into the workplace.2 The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) has stated: “The impact of nanotechnology on the health, wealth, and lives of people could be at least as significant as the combined influences of microelectronics, medical imaging, computer-aided engineering, and man-made polymers developed in this century.” 3 The NanoBusiness Alliance recently released a survey4 projecting the global market for the nanotechnology industry will reach $700 billion by 2008.

Here we define nanotechnology as research and technology development at the atomic, molecular or macromolecular levels, in the length scale of approximately 1 - 100 nanometers, where engineers create and use structures, devices and systems that have novel properties and functions because of their small and/or intermediate size.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering

Rogers, B. (2004, June), A Unified Approach To Nanotechnology Education Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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