NANO Connect promotes research

by Megan Jones, Editor-in-Chief

Prominent researchers in the nanotechnology field attended a forum at WHS on Oct. 9 to promote collaboration between students, educators and the government to support nanotechnology research in the STEM pathway, which helps aid a variety of scientific research from fighting cancer to aerospace products.

Nanotechnology is the study of small materials. One nanometer is a billionth of a meter.

The event grew international as Dr. WeonBae Ko, professor from Sahmyook University in Seoul, South Korea, attended along with Governor Pat Quinn and Congressman Robert Dold.

“We’ve begun by thinking ‘How do we bring this down to the high school level,” Dr. Lazaro Lopez, principal, said. “This brings forward the idea that they (the students) live beyond these four walls.”

The event aimed to demystify nanotechnology and show ways nanotechnology education could be integrated into high school science curriculums.

Students gave demonstrations on nanotechnologies applications such as 3-D printing, invisibility and molecular gastronomy, while keynote sessions took place throughout the day.

“I think it’s really cool that we get the chance not only to learn about a completely new topic, but also to present to a relevant audience,” Nisha Karwal, junior, said. “Nanotechnology is going to be apparent in our future, and it’s important to have an understanding about the basics.”

According to a study by the National Science Foundation, 6 million nanotechnology workers will be needed by 2020.

“I told Laz that nanotechnology is here to stay in Illinois. We want to be the leaders and invest in this,” Governor Quinn said. “As a state, we hope to launch a nanotechnology initiative that I want WHS to be a part of.”

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