UWP to offer minor in MEMS/Nanotechnology

May 18, 2007

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2007_05_18.jpgPLATTEVILLE - After two years of planning, research and course development, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville has announced that it will be offering engineering, chemistry and biology students the opportunity to minor in Microsystems (MEMS)/Nanotechnology.

The first course for the 24-credit minor, "Introduction to MEMS and Nanotechnology," was offered in spring of 2006 and 2007 as a special topics course, but was recently approved by the University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee to be included in the catalog for fall 2007. Carol Sue Butts, UWP provost, said this new minor marks an exciting development for UWP.

"In 2005, UW System entitled us to develop a major in MEMS/Nanotechnology. The System gave us five years to develop the major, so our goal is to have it in place by 2010. Establishing the minor is the first step in that process. This is the cutting edge in engineering technology, and we are delighted that the faculty have taken this step," said Butts.

Osama Jadaan, general engineering professor, who introduced the proposal to the UWP College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science Advisory Board in spring 2005, explained that the program has been and will continue to be the result of collaborative efforts of professors across disciplines.

"This will be the ultimate interdisciplinary program encompassing biology, chemistry, physics and engineering," he said.

The committee members prepared for their task by attending several workshops, conferences and educational seminars. They have also sought outside guidance from industry advisors as well as colleagues from other universities in their fields.

"It's important that our students learn about relevant topics and skills in order to keep up with growth in industry. The MEMS/Nanotechnology initiative is a great opportunity for students and faculty to learn something new together and share in the excitement of scientific discovery," said Hal Evensen, chair of the Microsystems/Nanotech Education Committee. "These technologies, the ability to do things on a molecular or atomic scale, are quickly becoming the basis of many scientific breakthroughs and will have enormous impact on state and national economies," he said.

Attempts to coordinate federal work on the nanoscale began in November 1996 and nanotechnology was later raised to the level of a federal initiative, becoming the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) in 2001. At a current funding level of $3.8 billion, it is now the largest funded technical program since the space race.

Nearly every Fortune 500 manufacturing company is active in nanotechnology. The new technology is used in biomedical, batteries, materials, paint, automotive components and UV protecting cosmetics. Products have been developed to remove arsenic from public water supplies and detect bio-warfare agents. It has even brought a new generation of clothing that cannot be stained and advanced drug delivery device that can target individual cancer cells.

Members of the cross disciplinary team who will teach the MEMS/Nanotechnology courses are Hal Evensen, Marlann Patterson and Wei Li, engineering physics; Mike Momot, mechanical engineering, Hisham Abdel-Aal, and Osama Jadaan, general engineering; Jim Hamilton, chemistry; Nader Safari-Shad and John Goomey, electrical engineering; and Esther Ofulue, biology.

Current UWP students interested in adding the minor to their programs should contact their advisors; prospective students and others interested in learning more about the program may contact Evensen at (608) 342-1531 or Jadaan at (608) 342-1728.

Contact: Hal Evensen, UWP Department of Engineering Physics, (608) 342-1531,evensenh@uwplatt.edu; and Osama Jadaan, UWP Department of General Engineering, (608) 342-1728, jadaan@uwplatt.edu Prepared by: Evelyn Martens, UWP Public Relations, (608) 342-1194, martense@uwplatt.edu; with Rachael Lehr.

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