Session J7: Undergraduate Nanotechnology and Materials Physics Education I

Larry Woolf : Session Chair,  General Atomics

NCLT Contributions to Nanoscience Education at the Undergraduate Level

Robert Chang, Northwestern University

Robert Chang started the session describing the activities of the National Center for Learning and Teaching in Nanoscale Science and Engineering, whose mission is to build national capacity in Nanoscale Science and Engineering Education. Some of the accomplishments of the center include the construction of an online education resource repository, and the development of units, courses, and simulations for undergraduate education, including a Nanoconcentration in Physics. The Center also houses an archive of seminars on various nanoscale science education topics and includes a potential venue for universities to post their courses and degree programs.

A Cutting-Edge Education: Incorporating Nano into the Undergraduate Curriculum

Greta Zenner, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Greta Zenner then described the education activities of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center on Nanostructured Interfaces. They have developed numerous teaching modules, labs, and education resources devoted to nanotechnology concepts, and many of these materials have been integrated into key introductory and advanced undergraduate courses at UW and other institutions, including small liberal arts colleges and community colleges. This effort has taken place through both the creation of new courses and the modification of existing courses to include cutting-edge content based on current research and emerging applications in nanotechnology.

Integrating Condensed Matter Physics into a Liberal Arts Physics Curriculum

Jeffrey Collett, Lawrence University

Next, Jeffrey Collett discussed the injection of nanoscale physics into recruiting activities and into the introductory and the core portions of the undergraduate curriculum. He described the use of inexpensive scanning tunneling (STM) and atomic force (AFM) microscopes to introduce students to nanoscale structure early in their college careers. The STM is used in introductory modern physics to explore quantum tunneling and the properties of electrons at surfaces. An interdisciplinary course in nanoscience and nanotechnology course, team-taught with chemists, looks at nanoscale phenomena in physics, chemistry, and biology.

Engaging undergraduate students in interdisciplinary courses in nanotechnology

Fiona Goodchild, University of California, Santa Barbara

Fiona Goodchild described two new courses designed and taught by research faculty and education staff at the California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI) at UC Santa Barbara for both undergraduate and graduate students. The first course, INSCITES, aimed at first and second year students who are interested in the impacts of science and technology in society, is team taught by three Graduate Teaching Scholars from across engineering, science and social sciences. The second course, entitled the Practice of Science is focused on science and engineering majors interested in scientific research and related career opportunities; it focus on the nature of scientific discovery, the role of graduate researchers and faculty, the challenges of collaboration across disciplines and the mechanisms for funding research in academia and industry.

Educating the workforce for the nanotechnology industry at CNSE

Pradeep Haldar, University at Albany

The final speaker in this first session was Pradeep Haldar from the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany, the first college in the world dedicated to research, development, education, and deployment in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience, and nanoeconomics. CNSE's NanoTech complex, is a $4.2 billion, 450,000-square-foot facility that has attracted over 250 global corporate partners, and is the most advanced research complex of its kind at any university in the world. The proposed undergraduate curriculum constitutes a four-part educational program comprised of a "Foundational Principles" component, a "Core Competency" component, a "Concentration" component and a "Capstone Research / Design" component.