Interdisciplinary Minor in Nanoscale Science and Engineering (Nanotechnology)
Michigan Technological University
Contact: John Jaszczak (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Updated February 18, 2005
Nanotechnology is a rapidly developing field that seeks to understand, control, and exploit new physical properties that arise in systems at length scales between atoms and bulk materials. Applications of nanotechnology, which already are emerging, are highly interdisciplinary and include virtually all fields and disciplines in engineering and the natural sciences.
This proposal for a new minor is in one sense a by-product of a National Science Foundation grant for Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education (7/2003 – 6/2005) which had up to 18 faculty participants, including five PI/CoPIs, from eight departments. Offering such a minor was not part of the proposed project activities; however, it helped to clearly demonstrate the need and the tremendous interest among both students and faculty for offering a formal undergraduate educational program in nanotechnology at MTU. In a survey of students in the "Fundamentals of Nanoscale Science and Technology" elective class in spring 2004, nearly 50% of the class responded that they would be interested in taking a minor in nanotechnology if MTU offered it.
The minor in Nanoscale Science and Engineering (Nanotechnology) is deliberately designed to
In order to introduce students for what some enthusiasts are calling the next "industrial revolution,” a formal minor in Nanoscale Science and Engineering (Nanotechnology) is proposed to give students the necessary multidisciplinary background in physics, chemistry, biology, instrumentation, and application-specific areas. Students will choose elective courses to broaden their exposure to other disciplines, as well as to deepen their understanding in primary areas of interest. Importantly, all students will have opportunities to consider and explore real and potential societal implications of new nanotechnologies. With ever increasing interest in nanotechnology among young, bright high school students, it is anticipated that this new minor may also be valuable in recruiting excellent students to Michigan Tech.
The Nanotechnology Minor will also give MTU an important educational component as it is also continuing to develop its research programs in nanoscale science and technology areas. The nano-related research and educational programs will help to and enhance MTU's visibility (see nano.mtu.edu) among other peer institutions developing similar programs.
The Nanotechnology Minor is a non-departmental minor that will be administered, initially, through the Department of Physics. Administrative responsibility will shift to an appropriate multidisciplinary program/unit such as a "Nanotechnology Institute"1 upon its creation.
I. Title of Minor
Nanoscale Science and Engineering (Nanotechnology) Minor
II. Catalog Description
This multidisciplinary minor focuses on emerging fields of science, engineering, and technology where systems exist with one or more dimensions at the nanometer scale. A multidisciplinary exposure, including fundamental sciences, current and potential applications, modern instrumentation, and potential societal implications are emphasized. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the minor, students are advised to consult with their major advisor and a Nanotechnology Minor advisor as early as possible to plan their schedules and a coherent program of study.
III. List of Courses
Choose at least two courses from this list of courses not in your major. Additional courses may be freely chosen from this list to bring the total number of credits from this list to at least 9, giving a total of at least 16 credits for the minor. (Remember that it is also a university requirement that you take at least two courses at the 3000-level or higher not required by your major.)
BA3780 Entrepreneurship (3)
BE 3500 Biomedical Materials
BL 1900 Molecular Biology
Seminar (1) [new class in approval process]
CH 2400 Principles of
Organic Chemistry (4)
CM 3974 Fuel Cell Fundamentals
EE 4231 Physical Electronics
EET 3353 Sensors, Data Acquisition and Control (3)
ENG 3974 Fuel Cell Fundamentals (1)
FW 3075 Plant Biotechnology
MEEM 4405 Intro to the
Finite Element Method (3)
MET 3131 Instrumentation
MY 3200 Materials Characterization
PH 2400 University Physics
IV: Waves and Modern Physics (3)
SS 2800 Science, Technology & Society
Other appropriate electives (including those at the graduate level) may be chosen with written permission by the Nanotechnology Minor faculty advisor. Graduate-level courses may also require permission of the department or the instructor.
Students are encouraged, though not required, to take at least one course from this list related to instrumentation:
BE 3600 Biomedical
Two new courses are required for the nanotechnology minor and have been through the new-course review process, independent of the success of this Minor proposal.
of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (2
Comments: This was a direct product of the funded NSF-NUE project. It was offered in spring 2004 as a special topics course, and was cross listed by six departments. The initial instructors were hoping for approximately 25 students to register. Over 90 students, ranging from freshmen to graduate students, registered and completed the course. A survey conducted at the end of the year showed that almost 90% of the students thought the class should be offered again and that nearly 40% of the students suggested that if be offered for more than one credit. We are planning to offer the class again in spring 2005 under special topics listings. In order to encourage in-class discussion and to keep instructional responsibilities (grading) by the primary instructors to a manageable level, we plan to cap enrollment at 25 in the future. This should not be too severe since one reason for the high initial enrollment was that this was the first time such a class had been offered at MTU.
Societal Implications of Nanotechnology (2