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UAlbany Nanotech Project Probed

Photonics.com
Dec 2003
ALBANY, N.Y., Dec. 4 -- Professors and other staff members at the University at Albany (UAlbany) are demanding an investigation into the school's nanotechnology graduate school and research program and whether the program's high-profile, potentially lucrative projects will remain on the Albany campus, according to an Associated Press article yesterday.

The article said UAlbany's University Senate, comprised of professors, professional staff members and students, voted on Monday to look into the nanotech question. The senate has little regulatory authority but advises the school on a variety of matters, including the creation of new programs and research initiatives, the AP said.

"Senate members stressed that they are glad to see the new School of NanoSciences and NanoEngineering and the Albany NanoTech research program on campus," according to the article.

Math professor Michael Range told the AP that the issue is not "pro or con nanoscience," but how the university is going about it and who controls the program.

The article said, "The push for an inquiry points to a deep rift on the campus, in which some staffers are suspicious or fearful that the nanotech research might be started here only to have it moved somewhere else. There also are vague fears that the program could 'siphon off' faculty members from the rest of the school, although nanotech officials deny that."

The AP said the current schism parallels the "long-standing conflict among the educational, research and commercial endeavors of a major university campus," and that it comes less than two months after UAlbany President Karen Hitchcock said she planned to step down at the end of the school year.

"She was said by many to be leaving amid pressure from State University Chancellor Robert King, and some had wondered if that battle involved a struggle over control of the nanotech program," the AP reported.

For more information, visit: www.albany.edu



GLOSSARY
nanotechnology
The use of atoms, molecules and molecular-scale structures to enhance existing technology and develop new materials and devices. The goal of this technology is to manipulate atomic and molecular particles to create devices that are thousands of times smaller and faster than those of the current microtechnologies.
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