Undergraduate Modules and Courses
CHN has incorporated nanotechnology content to existing courses at the three institutions. The 14 modules for 2005-2006 are listed below.
25.108 Introduction to Engineering II (FR-CEE).
"Synthesis of Nanoscale Iron Particles," introduces nanotechnology and the impact of high surface areas on the ability of nanoirons to promote the reductive dehalogenation of common soil and ground water contaminants like chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents. The laboratory involved synthesis of nanoscale iron particles and measurement of the oxidizing process by exposing the nanoscale iron particles in the air. (UML)
25.108 Introduction to Engineering II (FR-PL).
"Nanotechnology" introduces the differences in properties at the nanoscale, selected nano products, and the societal impact issues associated with nanotechnology. In a service learning-oriented laboratory session, the students were asked to test and suggest modifications to two K-12 outreach activities:
- "Nanosmores and Photolithography" from Cornell University's Main Street Science (http://www.nbtc.cornell.edu/mainstreetscience/kitlib/) and
- "Societal Implications of Technology," from the Institute for Chemical Education and University of Wisconsin-Madison's NSEC (author: Andrew Greenberg). (UML)
22.296 Mechanical Behavior of Materials (SO-ME).
"Introduction to Nanomaterials and Nanoscale Microscopy Characterization Techniques" introduces nanotechnology, with a specific discussion of why nanomaterial behavior is different from macroscale material behavior and how one 'measures' or 'sees' things at the nanoscale. In the laboratory, SEM, TEM, and AFM were demonstrated. (UML)
MIM U340 Introduction to Materials Science (SO/M-ME).
"Applications for Nanotechnology" introduces concepts of nanotechnology through an overview of engineering applications, as they relate to bonding in materials science. The materials included a lecture, a tour of important web sites with additional information, and presentation of 20 minute movie from Museum of Science (Boston) that described "Wonderful (and not so wonderful) World of Carbon Nanotubes." The movie described potential hazards of technology. (NEU)
26.202 Polymer Materials II (SO-PL).
"Engineering Thermoplastic Nanocomposites" introduces the history and development of nanoclay composites, the use of nanoclays (chemistry, availability, PSD, PSD, etc.), compounding schemes used for incorporation, the typical engineering resin modified, the properties enhanced, and typical applications. (UML)
31.251/252 Chemistry of Health and Environment I/II (SO)*.
"Characterizing Nanoscale Materials" introduces nanomaterials before making and characterizing the performance of dye-sensitized titanium dioxide solar cells. In "Characterizing Nanoscale Materials II," students examine biomaterials in both the lecture and laboratory. (UML) *chemistry course for non-majors.
42.216 Apes, Monsters, and Nightmares (English).
"Nanotechnology and Literature" starts with a 'technical' introduction to nanotechnology. Then students read and discussed Richard Feynman's "Plenty of Room at the Bottom," Bill Joy's "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us," Michael Crichton's "Prey," and James Halperin's "The First Immortal." (UML)
49.201 Economics I (Econonics).
Economics I examines the market structure that implements the exchange of goods and services between producers and end users. During a two-week period dealing with market structure, students explored the nature of nanomanufacturing and discussed the market structure of these emerging and pre-commercial industries. (UML)
26.316 Plastics Process Engineering Laboratory IV (JR-PL).
In the three-week sequence "Compounding of Nanocomposites," students examined good manufacturing processes in the twin screw compounding of nanocomposites, specifically the effect of feeding conditions on the particle concentration in the air as well as the mechanical properties of the resultant molded parts. (UML)
45.334 Engineering and Ethics (JR/SR-Philosophy)**.
"The Application of Nanotechnology in Developing Countries: Benefits and Risks" examines the risk assessment process currently taking place in nanotechnology research and development. The instructional materials include lecture notes, readings, short video clips, and a bibliography of the relevant literature. (UML) ** Required course for some engineering disciplines.
POL U600 Junior/Senior Seminar in American Politics (JR/SR-Political Science).
"The Impacts of Profound Technological Change," explores the societal and political ramifications of rapid and profound technological change, including nanotechnology. Discussion is based around Ray Kurzweil's, "The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology" (Viking, 2005) and included guest lectures on dimensions of technological change and their impacts. (NEU)
PHL U901 Topics in Philosophy Seminar: Environmental Ethics (JR/SR-Philosophy).
"Nanotechnology, Environmental Restoration, and Environmental Values" discusses the roles that nanotechnology might play in the practice of environmental restoration, and evaluates the use of nanotechnology in those roles in light of the values and goals involved in environmental restoration. (NEU)
PHL U901 Topics in Philosophy Seminar: Ethics After Darwin (JR/SR-Philosophy).
"Nanotechnology and Human Flourishing" explores the relationship between advances in nanotechnology and biologically grounded conceptions of human flourishing. Particular emphasis is placed on human enhancement nanotechnologies. Reading: Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity is Near; short focused lectures (approx. 5 minutes); seminar style discussions. (NEU)
25.130 Introduction to NanoEngineering (Multidisciplinary Engineering)*.
Developed for face-to-face and on-line delivery, this course and its laboratory is designed to help interested students understand the science, technology, and issues associated with nanotechnology. Since the nanotechnology revolution is about changing materials at the atomic and molecular level to produce new products, this course introduces nanotechnology and focuses on five topics:
- nanodevices, specifically nanoelectronics,
- measurement at the nanoscale, and
- the societal impact of nanotechnology.
This course was developed under the National Science Foundation's Nanoscale Undergraduate Education program (DMI-0200498). (UML) * Designed for non-technical majors.
CHE U608, ECE U608, and ECE G150 Nanotechnology in Engineering (SR/GR-Multidiscipinary Engineering).
Nanotechnology is the refinement of functional properties of materials, devices, or systems that are in at least one dimension smaller than 100 nm. In recent years, nanotechnology has revolutionized how we think of science and its impact on society. In this course students explore a wide range of new technologies based on, or influenced by, breakthroughs in nanoscience, including spintronics, quantum computing, carbon nanotube electronics, nanoparticle cancer remediation strategies, biomolecular electronics, and nanomachines. A general goal is the engineering of new or enhanced macroscopic properties from nanostructure or nanoscale materials and components. Through review of the scientific literature, classroom lecture, four seminars by international leaders of nanotechnology, and student team projects, student are afforded an opportunity to become well-versed in this important burgeoning field of nanotechnology. (NEU)
42.465 Nanoscience and Literature (JR/SR-English).
Beginning in the mid-1980s, when nanoscience pioneer K. Eric Drexler and others were vigorously starting to popularize the technological possibilities of nanoscience and molecular engineering, fiction writers began imagining possible future nanoscientific scenarios and grappling with the potential social and moral consequences of developments in nanoscience. This is a rapidly growing genre or subgenre of science fiction. The purpose of this course is to:
- offer students the opportunity to explore a representative survey of literary responses to, reflections on, and representations of nanoscience,
- allow student to consider these responses, reflections, and representations in the context of relations between the two cultures of scientific and humanistic inquiry that developed during the nineteenth century and that was described by the British physicist and novelist C. P. Snow in the late 1950s, and
- provide an occasion for students to consider literary engagements with nanoscience in the context of emergent and ongoing efforts within higher education to bridge the two cultures through an array of inter-, multi-, and transdisciplinary undertakings. (UML)