We are witnessing the dawn of a new era in science, industry, and quality of life. More quickly than anyone could have imagined even just a few years ago when the National Nanotechnology Initiative was announced, nanotechnology is entering the marketplace and indeed changing our lives, said Alan Marty, executive-in-residence, JP Morgan Partners, in testimony to the House Science Committee on March 19. As production of nanoproducts becomes easier, faster, and cheaper, every market sector will begin to feel their impact. The National Science Foundation (NSF) conservatively predicts a $1 trillion global market for nanotechnology in little over a decade.
Nanotechnology uses clusters of molecules and atoms to make nanometer-size (billionth of a meter) building blocks for new materials. These blocks have different properties than larger sizes of the same materials, and can therefore be used for many new applications. Already, the ability to control the pattern of the building blocks of materials has resulted in advances such as mirrors that do not fog, more effective sunscreens, and many other applications.
The Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center focuses Rensselaers broad faculty expertise in this critical area of emerging technology. It integrates research, education, and technology commercialization through partnerships with government and industry. Rensselaer also operates an NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centerthe Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for Directed Assembly of Nanostructureslocated within the Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center.
The RPI-Industry Partnership in Nanotechnology, which supports Rensselaers research and educational efforts in nanotechnology, is integral to the success of the universitys work in this critical research arena. The partnerships include ABB, Albany International, Eastman Kodak, Philip Morris USA, and IBM.
Examples of recent work sponsored by these corporations include research to create thin films with multifunctional propertiessuch as scratch-resistant, transparent coatings made from nanofilled alumina/gelatin compositesand studies that focus on learning to control the behavior and properties of nanoparticle-filled polymer composites. Potential commercial applications include coatings to protect X-ray film from scratches that can lead to misdiagnosis and eyeglasses that are more scratch-resistant.
The industrial partnership with Rensselaer in nanotechnology provides a focused, collaborative intimacy with a progressive research center, says William McKenna, director of external technology for Eastman Kodak, a major partner in the center. We have been able to develop a strategic relationship that allows us to import fundamental scientific expertise and broaden our internal knowledge base. It also allows us to identify promising talent for Kodak as we move forward our nano- technology initiatives.
As family and friends cheered the graduates of the Class of 2003 at Rensselaers 197th Commencement in May, preparations were under way to welcome the newest members of the Rensselaer community. The incoming Class of 2007 is shaping up once again to be the cream of the cropwith the majority in the top 10 percent of their high school class, with SAT scores on the rise, and increasing numbers of Rensselaer Medalists.
These outstanding young people will arrive at Rensselaer from all around the country and, indeed, from around the world, eager to begin their college careers on a campus transforming itself into one of the nations leading research universities. They look forward to the many opportunities that await them, but many would not have chosen Rensselaer without the financial support that will make it possible to achieve their educational goals.
One of the goals of The Rensselaer Plan is to drive new financial resources to areas of the highest priority. As Rensselaer moves forward to develop research facilities, and to hire and support top researchers and teachers, new funds are needed for direct student support. Sufficient financial support will allow Rensselaer to achieve a university community with true intellectual, geographic, gender, and ethnic diversityeducated to work and lead in a global economy.
The Rensselaer Board of Trustees fully supports the priorities of The Rensselaer Plan and especially its emphasis on student support. Dr. Jackson is leading Rensselaer in the right direction, with new facilities under construction, and a gifted and growing faculty. Its students deserve the financial support that makes it possible to access these tremendous resources, says trustee Nicholas Donofrio 67.
Members of the Board of Trustees are leading this effort. New endowed scholarships will be available to students thanks to new commitments from Donofrio and several trustees including John Carr 77; Frank McKone 63; Paula Loring Simon 68 and her husband, Frank; and Robert Swanson 58 and his wife, Cynthia Shevlin.
They join trustee colleagues with established endowed funds in support of students, including Carolyn and Neal Barton 58, Irene and Robert Bozzone 55, Hope and David Hirsch 65, Nancy Mueller, James Mullen 80, and Linda Sanford 75.
On her way to her dream job at Ernst & Young, scholarship recipient and new graduate Amy Gennarini 03 says it best: It was the financial support of the Alumni Scholarship and my innovative education that helped my dreams come true.
|Rensselaer Magazine: June 2003|
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