June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Engineering and Public Policy
11.548.1 - 11.548.7
Engineering and Public Policy at the Nanoscale: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Course
The excitement and promise of nanotechnology provides a unique opportunity to increase public awareness of the critical importance of science and technology to society in general and to students in particular. Nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing will require a more diverse technical education of the current and projected workforce. To increase student awareness of the societal implications of this developing technology, the academic partners in the Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN), an NSF-sponsored Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC), have created a team taught course entitled “Nanomanufacturing I”. Assessment of engineering and science student performance is reported for the segment of the course that addressed policy issues.
The academic partners in the Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN), an NSF- sponsored Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC), have created a team taught course entitled “Nanomanufacturing I”. Faculty from all three core partner academic institutions, including Northeastern University (NEU), University of Massachusetts at Lowell (UML), and the University of New Hampshire (UNH), have made contributions to the lectures, which were transmitted live each week to partner institutions with a two-hour duration to a student population with diverse scientific and engineering backgrounds on each campus during the Fall 2005 semester. The course was highly interdisciplinary in its technical content, and further, included topics delivered by faculty in social science and humanities. Twenty-three students were enrolled from NU, three students from UML and five students from UNH.
In 2002 the National Research Council made ten recommendations to strengthen the still-young National Nanotechnology Initiative, eventually incorporated into the NNI Strategic Plan (2004). Recommendation #9 was that the National Science and Technology Council, Committee on Technology Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET) “should develop a new funding strategy to ensure that the societal implications of nanoscale science and technology become an integral part of the NNI.” Much has been done to meet this goal. Indeed, supported by the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act (PL 108-153: 2003), the NSF primarily, but other agencies as well (e.g., EPA, the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety), have committed substantial funding toward understanding the social and environmental implications of the nanoscale revolution.
The intention for the course was not only to provide an interdisciplinary nanomanufacturing course for a student population with diverse scientific and engineering backgrounds, but also to increase the awareness in students, that the societal implications will have a direct impact on the development and implementation of the research upon which they are working.
Isaacs, J., & Bosso, C., & Barry, C. (2006, June), Engineering And Public Policy At The Nanoscale: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Course Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/1185
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