Nanotechnology: The Next Small Thing?

WED, JAN 21, 2004 (1:22:55)

Nancy A. Burnham, W. Grant McGimpsey, and William Durgin discuss consumer products that take advantage of the possibilities of nanotechnology, and what we can expect to see on the market in the near future. The computer industry is continually working to make transistors smaller, cheaper, and faster. As systems become tinier, they behave in ways that are fundamentally different from those made on a macroscopic scale. Because of this great difference, nanotechnology presents new opportunities and possibilities.

+ BIO: Nancy A. Burnham

Nancy Burnham graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1987 with a PhD in physics. Her dissertation concerned the surface analysis of photovoltaic materials. As a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory, she became interested in scanning probe microscopy, in particular its application to detecting materials properties at the nanoscale. After three years as a von Humboldt Fellow in Germany at Forschungszentrum Juelich, she spent another 6 years in Europe, principally at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland, all the while pursuing the mechanical properties of nanostructures and instrumentation for nanomechanics. She became an associate professor of physics at WPI in January of 2000. Her international experience also includes sejours at the University of Bordeaux, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (an exchange school with WPI). Invited, tutorial, or plenary speaker at approximately 40 conferences, author or co-author of roughly 60 publications with an h-index of 23, she is as well active in professional societies as, e.g., Secretary of the Nanometer Structures Committee of the IUVSTA and Treasurer of the Nanoscience and Technology Division of the AVS. She was the recipient of the 2001 Nanotechnology Recognition Award from the latter organization and was a 2002 Institute of Physics of Ireland Lecturer.

+ BIO: W. Grant McGimpsey

W. Grant McGimpsey received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Queen's University, Ontario, Canada in 1985 and spent several years as research scientist at the National Research Council Canada. In 1989, he joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In 2005, McGimpsey was appointed as the Director of WPI's Bioengineering Institute (BEI), an organization focused on the development and commercialization of medical technologies. In 2007, McGimpsey was also named the WPI Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies ad interim. In addition, he is president and co-founder of Active Surface Technologies Incorporated, a company developing thin film technology for medical, sensor and energy applications.

McGimpsey's research interests focus on surface chemistry, thin film devices, nanotechnology, molecular scale devices, micro- and nano-fluidics and biosensors. His research program, which has attracted nearly 8.5 million dollars in external support over the past 15 years is currently funded by the Department of Defense. In 1995, McGimpsey was visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Radiation Chemistry in Germany and in 2002 he was visiting professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is now adjunct research professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at UMASS. Also in 2002, McGimpsey was given the WPI Trustees Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Scholarship.

Museum of Science, Boston
Cambridge Science Festival: Innovations Series