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High School Students See Small Worlds

UCR Scientists Show High Schoolers Big Possibilities in Smallest Worlds

Program Explores Developments in Nanotechnology, Wins Kids’ Praise

(July 8, 2004)

Students get a lab tour during Enlarge

Students get a lab tour during "Frontiers in Nanotechnology and Engineering" from Assistant Professor Nosang Myung

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- A UC Riverside summer program took 35 area high school students and teachers to the junction of science fiction and science fact recently to show how advances in nanotechnology are expanding other fields, including medicine and engineering.

The participants, from 28 high schools in Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties, gave the program high marks, said Linda O’Neill, UC Riverside’s director of special programs.

UCR presented “Frontiers in Nanotechnology and Engineering” June 21 through July 2. During the first week, high school teachers attended lectures, toured labs and took part in hands-on activities that conformed to the state’s standards for high school science instruction.

In the second week, the teachers and UCR faculty and students helped the ninth- through 12th-graders explore “buckyballs” -- spherical carbon molecules named for geodesic dome pioneer R. Buckminster Fuller -- and nanotubes, which are rolled sheets of such molecules. They worked with LEDs (light emitting diodes), learned about DNA and blood typing, and built mini “robots” using memory wires.

They also created presentations outlining how nanotechnology might be used to cure diseases in the future.

“The program was a huge success according to the evaluations,” O’Neill said. “The professors enjoyed it as much as the participants. It was a real joy to see everyone so excited about nanotechnology and wanting to know more.”

By the end of the program, O’Neill said, students had an idea of how nanotechnology influences a wide range of disciplines, and what the implications might be for science -- and in their own lives.

“Hopefully, it will inspire students to pursue science and technology careers,” she said. From what they said in evaluations of the program, it seems like a good bet:

"This program was a great opportunity to learn about the cutting edge of technology and was an unforgettable experience that will change people's perspectives on science for a lifetime," one high school student wrote.

From another participant: "I learned a lot about what is being researched today. I also learned about the campus and what major I want in college."
And another: "Frontiers in Nanotechnology is the ultimate opportunity to take what I've learned in high school science classes and apply it to (a) new and developing field."

And another: "The professors were enthusiastic about their work, which made me excited as well.”

Lectures by UC Riverside faculty included:
•“How Nanotechnology is Changing our World,” by Distinguished Professor Robert Haddon, head of UCR’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE).
•“Nano-electromechanical Systems and Bio-micromechanical systems (Bio-MEMS): by assistant professors Cengiz and Mihri Ozkan.
•“Nanotechnology and Neuroscience” by Assistant Professor Vladimir Parpura.
•“Nano-fabrication and Nanostructures,” by Assistant Professor Jianlin Liu.
•“Nanoscale Physics: Quantum Behavior of Matter in Small Structures,” by Assistant Professor Roland Kawakami and Associate Professor Ward Beyermann.

Students listen to Krishna Veer Singh, a Ph.D. student in Chemical and Environmental Engineering.<br />

Students listen to Krishna Veer Singh, a Ph.D. student in Chemical and Environmental Engineering.



The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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