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1 August 2007
The Department's Nanoscience Centre
Teenagers from across the UK were offered a rare insight into the exciting and dynamic field of Nanotechnology.
Thirty school pupils came to the Department's Nanoscience Centre at West Cambridge for a four-day residential course organised by The Smallpeice Trust, an independent charity which promotes engineering as a career.
Cutting across many scientific disciplines, nanotechnology explores the manipulation of atoms and molecules to produce innovative products like cars that never need polishing or self-adjusting sunscreen.
Through a combination of compelling lectures, challenging workshops, stimulating, hands-on projects and site visits, experts in the field introduced students to the extraordinary concepts and practical applications of this rapidly expanding technology.
Students explored the nano-world using powerful electron microscopes, creating macro-scale molecular models and conducting surface science experiments.
The teenagers were also able to visit TWI, a world centre for joining technologies where they were able to see nanotechnology in practice and observe the way other industries have benefited from a range of joining techniques.
Cambridge is widely seen as a leader in nanotechnology research with successes across the University in nanoelectronics, novel materials and coatings, biologically inspired nanostructures and advanced characterization tools.
Spokesperson for The Smallpeice Trust, Gemma Murphy commented, “It is a real privilige to be working with this international research centre and being able to give students a insight into how this has the potential to revolutionise our lives.”
Mark Welland, Professor of Nanotechnology and Director of the IRC in Nanotechnology, reflected, “The Smallpeice residential course is an important element of our nanotechnology outreach programme that engages with schools in the UK as part of FRONTIERS, an EU funded Network of Excellence”.
The Nanotechnology course is run by The Smallpeice Trust as part of an ongoing programme of residential courses designed to help young people aged 13 – 18 learn and develop skills in engineering, design and management. Through these courses and STEM enrichment sessions, The Trust has reached out to more than 8,000 students across the UK in the past year – a 20 fold increase over a 6 year period.
The Trust's new course timetable for 2008 will be launched in September this year. To find out more, visit the website http://www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk/.
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