Nanotechnology Event for Educators Features Northwestern Scientists

Nanotechnology Event for Educators Features Northwestern Scientists

Nanotechnology event

Scientists from Northwestern University discussed their cutting-edge work at an inaugural nanotechnology event for educators and students. Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP) staff member Michelle Paulsen helped to plan the event to showcase the world of nanotechnology and show how nanotechnology can be incorporated into the high school science curriculum.

Several hundred people attended the NANO Connect event, entitled “Demystifying Nanotechnology,” on October 9 at Wheeling High School. “It was a fantastic opportunity to introduce students, teachers and the general public to nanotechnology and the research going on at Northwestern,” says Paulsen, OSEP’s assistant director for K-12 partnerships.

Governor Pat Quinn and Representative Robert Dold gave introductory talks, with Quinn highlighting the importance of STEM education and his goal to expand nanotechnology in Illinois. The event offered a forum for collaboration among educators, industry partners, post-secondary schools and government in support of Illinois initiatives to further college and career readiness.

The keynote speaker was Northwestern professor Gayle E. Woloschak of the Departments of Radiation Oncology, Radiology, and Cell and Molecular Biology at the Feinberg School of Medicine. She discussed how her research team is using nanotechnology in their work to cure cancer. Northwestern professor Dmitriy Dikin discussed “Practical Applications of Nanotechnology” from a mechanical engineering point of view.

“They got the audience excited about science research,” says Paulsen, who sought to give educators a better understanding of the complexities and potential of nanotechnology. “Nanotechnology is a field that is growing by leaps and bounds.”

Other speakers were Ted Fetters of the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, WeonBae Ko of NANOScience Sahmyook University in Seoul and Kathleen Gregar of Argonne National Laboratory. Finally, a panel discussion showed educators how nanotechnology connected with new science standards and career and technical education initiatives.

Nanotechnology works at the molecular level and is hailed as the field of the future. Generally, nanotechnology focuses on materials or structures 1 to 100 nanometers in size, with a nanometer being one billionth of a meter. Nanotechnology is a key technology for current research in medicine, physics, engineering and many other fields.

OSEP is the Northwestern office that serves as a liaison between K-12 schools and the cutting-edge resources of Northwestern University.

Caption: Governor Pat Quinn speaks at the "Demystifying Nanotechnology" event for educators, students and the public.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 11/1/12