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NUE 2003-2004

Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education


About the Project

NUE: Undergraduate Exploration of Nano-Science, Applications, and Societal Implications at Michigan Tech

A faculty group at Michigan Tech will develop a suite of educational and research experiences to introduce students, primarily in their first and second years, to the exciting prospects and challenges of nanoscale science and engineering. The group includes faculty from most of the departments of physical sciences and engineering as well as the social sciences. Relying primarily upon the framework of existing courses, the group will prepare an array of educational experiences and opportunities designed to provide an integrated introduction to three crucial aspects of nanoscale work: the underlying science, possible scientific and engineering applications, and the societal implications of this still unfolding realm of science and engineering.

Specific activities include preparing modules and problem sets on nano topics for use in several introductory science and engineering courses; offering a course in the required, first-semester freshman general education seminar devoted to nanoscience and technology; creating a new, first-year, team-taught interdisciplinary seminar on the Fundamentals of Nanotechnology; installing nano modules in second-year courses on manufacturing engineering; materials science and engineering; modern physics; and a social sciences course focusing on societal implications of science and technology. The program also includes a lecture series, and opportunities for undergraduate research experiences and international activities, including the development of links to an established Research Training Network (RTN) in Europe coordinated by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. This menu of varied options insures that nanotechnology issues and educational activities are placed before a substantial number of all first-year students at Michigan Tech, including almost all engineering students, with continuing opportunities available into the second year and after. Additionally, this project substantially advances an internal effort to develop fully integrated and multi-disciplinary undergraduate (a nanosciences/nanotechnology minor and a BSE degree) and graduate programs in the realm of nanoscience and engineering at Michigan Tech, particularly by stimulating substantial faculty collaboration in program and curriculum development. The primary intellectual merit flows from the integration of science, engineering, and societal implications from the outset of these programmatic activities. In particular, the project pays particular attention to the societal implications of the unfolding domain of the nanoscale, incorporating an element minimally represented in many existing nanoscale research and educational programs.

This Nanotechnology Undergraduate Research (NUE) proposal was submitted in response to the solicitation "Nanoscale Science and Engineering" (NSF 02-148). It is being supported by the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), the Directorate for Engineering (ENG), and the Division of Physics in the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS).

NSF Award Abstract - #0304439