Wheeling High School, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon school with a Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics (STEM) focus, will host NANO Connect, an event that aims to demystify nanotechnology and show ways in which nanotechnology education can be integrated into traditional high school science curriculums. It will be held at the school on Tuesday, Oct. 9, from 8 a.m. to noon and will feature keynote addresses from Illinois Congressman Bob Dold; Gayle E. Woloschak, Ph. D., Professor, Northwestern University; and Ted Fetters, the Director of Program Management for the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. NANO Connect is sponsored by NanoProfessor®, a division of NanoInk®, Inc. focused on nanotechnology education.
The event is open to students, educators and those working in the nanotechnology industry. In addition to the keynote addresses, graduate students from Northwestern University's International Institute for Nanotechnology will give hands-on demonstrations to WHS students, showcasing nanotechnology and its applications. Dr. Kathleen Gregar and Dr. Erin Iski from the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory will discuss their work in the field and host a session on careers in the NANOTech industry. More information about NANO Connect, including registration, is available at: http://whs.d214.org/academics/nano_conference.aspx.
"NanoConnect is a way to kick off our infusion of nanotechnology into our core biology, chemistry and physics courses," said Nancy Heintz, WHS Math/Science Division Head. "Our teachers have spent countless hours to learn about this emerging field and to develop ways to incorporate nano into our classes. We know that our students will be amazed to learn about what is currently being done with at the nano scale and how this will affect their lives."
"We created NANO Connect to provide a forum to promote collaboration among educators, industry partners, post-secondary institutions, and government in support of the Illinois Research STEM Pathway and statewide economic development," said Dr. Lázaro López, principal of Wheeling High School. "Following the event, attendees will have a better understanding of nanotechnology and its impact on scientific research and future applications."
"We are thrilled to sponsor NANO Connect, which brings together educators, students and the private sector with the goal of growing the nanotechnology industry in Illinois through education and development," said Dean Hart, Chief Commercial Officer of NanoInk. "Dr. López should be commended for his leadership in bringing awareness to the need for nanotechnology education."
Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between approximately one and 100 nanometers (nm), where unique phenomena enable novel applications which are not feasible when working with bulk materials. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at the nanoscale. A study funded by the National Science Foundation projects that six million nanotechnology workers will be needed worldwide by 2020, with two million of those jobs in the United States. However, as of 2008, there were only 400,000 estimated workers worldwide in the field of nanotechnology, with an estimated 150,000 of those in the United States.
Jessica Mamalio, a Wheeling junior and Honors Physics student in teacher Dan Weidner's class, sees the tremendous value in studying nanotechnology, "because it could improve so many technologies," she said. "From repelling stains from clothing to treating cancer more efficiently, nanotechnology could help improve numerous things that could greatly benefit our society."
Another Honors Physics students, junior Nisha Karwal, commented, "The coolest thing I've learned is how scientists use nanotechnology to administer drugs to a brain tumor. Since tumors have such a thick exterior, it is hard to directly give medicine to the actual tumor. Nanoparticles can overcome this challenge because of their small size.