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Nano's Brightest Coming To Rice

Thu, 07/29/2010 - 8:24am
EurekAlert

The biggest names in nanotechnology are preparing to gather this fall at Rice University, and everyone is welcome to join them.

Registration is open for Year of Nano events to be held Oct. 10-13 in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the carbon 60 molecule, the buckminsterfullerene, at Rice.

The Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, the world's first nanotechnology center when it opened in 1991, will bring top scientists to Rice for the Buckyball Discovery Conference, a three-day event that begins Oct. 11 and will take a comprehensive look at the past, present and future of nanotechnology.

The conference will incorporate the annual T.T. Chao Symposium on Innovation, which brings together established and emerging leaders in the technical, entrepreneurial and policy arenas to think about how Houston can address society's needs in the 21st century.

An interactive discussion about the discovery of the buckyball moderated by Tom Tritton, president of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, will kick off the event. Nobel laureates Robert Curl, Rice's University Professor Emeritus and Kenneth S. Pitzer-Schlumberger Professor Emeritus of Natural Sciences; Sir Harold Kroto, a professor at the University of Sussex at the time of the find and now at Florida State University; and former Rice graduate students James Heath and Sean O'Brien will reminisce about their groundbreaking discovery and the many years they spent defending it, what their work has meant for science and where they see nanotechnology headed. They will talk about working with their Rice colleague and fellow laureate, the late Rick Smalley, and answer audience questions.

Following the Nobel session, Ray Johnson, chief technology officer at Lockheed Martin, will offer the first lunchtime keynote address. Heath, now a professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, will deliver Tuesday's keynote.

Eight of the world's renowned carbon nanotechnologists will discuss current research and development as well as the future of nanotechnology. They include Phaedon Avouris, Marvin Cohen, Hongjie Dai, Millie Dresselhaus, Morinobu Endo, Andre Geim, Andreas Hirsch and Donald Huffman. Breakout sessions will delve into applications of nanotechnology and the obstacles it faces in areas that include environmental health and safety, energy, health, aerospace and materials.

Jim Kohlhaas, vice president for energy initiatives, corporate engineering and technology at Lockheed Martin, and Horst Adams, general manager of the metal branch and vice president of future technologies at Bayer MaterialScience, will lead two of the breakout sessions.

The conference is free, but participants must register and pay for meals and special events.

The "Week of Nano" will also feature a Bucky "Ball" Celebration at Rice on the evening of Oct. 11. It will include the presentation of the National Historic Chemical Landmark designation, facility tours, nanotechnology demos and memorabilia, as well as food and drinks. On Oct. 10, friends and fans of nano research at Rice will celebrate at the 10-10-10 Gala.

Lockheed Martin is the primary sponsor of the Year of Nano events. The company partners with the Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology in the Lockheed Martin Advanced Nanotechnology Center of Excellence at Rice, aka LANCER, through which researchers in academia tackle the high-tech industry's toughest problems.

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