The Future of Small Science Essay

1984 Words 8 Pages
The Future of Small Science

In the last few years, nanotechnology has become a craze within the science community, even though its almost completely theoretical nature makes it an industry of potential, rather than results. But in the United States, faith in its future, backed by a government four-year plan to spend $3.7 billion on nanotechnology research, a host of entrepreneurial businesses have sprung up with “nano” written somewhere in their mission statements.

Basically defined only as the manipulation of particles on the nano scale (i.e., extremely small), the fundamental science for nanotechnology has been around since 1918, when physicist Max Planck helped create the theories of quantum physics. But without precision
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But any grant is a good grant, and though it sounds perhaps more grand than it is, the efforts of Dr. Ahmed Busnaina are the main reason that the NSF gave the grant out at all, and also why Northeastern has been picked as the central branch of this new coalition.

Busnaina, the head professor of nanotechnology research at Northeastern, was a key player in the long road towards creating and then actually receiving the grant, helping NU to beat out other top ranked Massachusetts schools and place it as a central figure in a highly competitive technological race. It is a race being run in the smallest boundaries of our known existence, but the potential gains of its research are, at this stage, only limited by the imaginations of those involved.

“Sometimes you can be very frustrated by this work,” said Sivasubramaman Somu, a post-doc working with the Center for High Rate Nanomanufacturing. “It can take days sometimes just to find out what’s wrong, and it could be just that a machine wasn’t turned on correctly.”

Not an unbelievable mistake when looking at the hundreds of switches and levers strewn across the vast instrument panels all across the laboratory Somu works in every day on the third floor of the Egan Research building.

“But it pays off,” Somu says afterwards, smiling. “When you succeed,

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