More than 100 scientists and researchers from Columbia and the Canadian province of Quebec engaged in recent discussions on the Columbia campus aimed at building research partnerships in the emerging field of nanotechnology.
The Quebec-Columbia Nanotechnology Symposium, held at Davis Auditorium on April 11, brought together leading scientists from Columbia and research universities in Quebec with the intention of forming collaborations on the frontier of nanoscale research in many disciplines. Executive Vice Provost Michael Crow told the gathering: "In an era where world class science increasingly means international science, we believe that committing to partnerships such as these will become vital for building and sustaining research programs."
The discussions were held with participants of NanoQuebec, the research network founded in 2001 by the province's six research universities: McGill, Montreal, Ecole Polytechnique, INRS, a center in the network of the Institut National pour la Recherche Scientifique, at the University of Quebec, Laval and Sherbrooke. The network has committed $5 million in research funding to nanotechnology.
The intent of the first meeting was for Columbia and Quebec researchers to learn where partnerships are possible. Follow-up meetings are planned to focus in more detail on promising areas, according to Jeffrey Brancato, acting director of the Columbia Nanotechnology Initiative.
Columbia is one of six major research universities in the United States that have been designated by the National Science Foundation as national nanoscale research centers. The University received an initial U.S. government grant of $10.8 million to support the work of 16 primary researchers for five years in the Center for Electronic Transport in Molecular Nanostructures. Professors Ronald Breslow, the National Medal of Science winner, and Horst Stormer, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, are scientific directors of the center.
More than 50 researchers University-wide are engaged in nanoscale research, including those at Columbia's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Health Sciences Division and within diverse departments, such as chemistry and physics. Research involves the simulation of biological and inorganic materials; the synthesis and characterization of nanocrystals, nanotubes, and low-dimensional structures, and the fabrication of small, functional biological machines that detect and move matter through a variety of microscopic methods.