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Frontiers Of Nanotechnology And Nanomaterials

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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

Multidisciplinary Courses and Issues

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.627.1 - 9.627.10



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Paper Authors

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Philip Kosky

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

Session 1171

Frontiers of Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials P. G. Kosky, M. E. Hagerman, and S. Maleki, Union College, Schenectady, NY 12308


Union College’s student body combines about 15% engineering students with a predominately liberal arts campus of approximately 2,000 students. Recently the College embraced an interdisciplinary program “Converging Technologies” that integrates cross curricula material into existing core engineering and liberal arts programs.

We have developed an undergraduate course “Frontiers of Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials” aimed at sophomore engineering and science majors with prerequisites of mathematics through calculus, a first sequence in physics, and one course in chemistry. Important goals were to bring the excitement of nanotechnology to students early in their scholastic careers and to make them aware of the many opportunities for research and further study.

The pedagogical challenges were several. We needed to: 1) reflect existing faculty interests in engineering, physics, and chemistry, 2) integrate those faculty into a cohesive teaching unit, 3) be intelligible to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, 4) serve a multidisciplinary student body, and 5) have assessable outcomes. In addition, no single ideal text was available so several sources of ancillary readings were assigned.

Since contemporary research in nanotechnology and nanomaterials is normally too advanced for sophomore students, several innovative techniques tested their assimilation of course materials. Quantitative and semi-quantitative aspects were evaluated using weekly homework and two in-class exams. Qualitative understanding of the material was tested by requiring student teams to orally present important nano-subtopics and have each student to write a self-selected (but faculty approved) “Nanotracts” paper. The Nanotract papers condensed, and critically commentated on, very recently published research papers in the nano field at the full publication standards of the peer research literature.

The course facilitated key contacts with local partner industrial and academic institutions including IBM, General Electric R&D, RPI, Wadsworth Center (a New York state laboratory), and the Albany NanoTech Center. Six expert outside speakers delivered key lectures.

Through a recent NSF-NUE grant, we are developing nanotechnology-teaching modules to expose students to methods of synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials, and a web- based undergraduate textbook on nanomaterials.

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

Kosky, P. (2004, June), Frontiers Of Nanotechnology And Nanomaterials Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13696

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