Today I have a lot of short news bits. First, there’s some Canadian nanotechnology news. The Ontario government is investing $3.8M in Vive Nano and its environmentally friendly process for creating nano materials and products. The funding is being disbursed through the Ontario government’s Innovation Demonstration Fund.
I took a look at Vive Nano’s website and it’s short on detail. They make the claim that their products are environmentally friendly without substantiating it. On the plus side, there’s a very descriptive video about their process for developing nanoparticles which you can access by selecting ‘our technology’ from the ‘what we do’ pulldown menu on the home page. (If you want to read more details from the news item on Nanowerk, go here.)
I was surprised to find out that Germany had resisted the European Union’s new requirements to label nanotechnology-derived ingredients in cosmetics and beauty products as such. From the news item on Nanwerk,
One of the key elements of the new streamlined laws is a clause requiring companies to print the word ‘nano’ in brackets after any ingredient which is smaller than 100 nanometres in size. “All ingredients present in the form of nanomaterials shall be clearly indicated in the list of ingredients,” according to the new legislation. However, Germany took the view (pdf download) that highlighting the fact that a product contains nanomaterials could be viewed by consumers as a warning. German officials noted that cosmetic products that are for sale in the EU must already pass stringent safety tests, implying that the inclusion of nano-scale materials should not warrant additional scrutiny.
I believed there was more unanimity of thought regarding labeling and concerns about health and safety regarding emerging technologies in the European Union (EU). In hindsight, I suspect that’s because most of the material I read about the EU is written after the discussions and disagreements have been resolved or smoothed over in some way.
I’ve been wondering where the metaphors have disappeared to in the last few months as the nanotechnology announcements contain fewer and fewer of them. Happily I found a new one the other day. From the news item (Straightening messy correlations with a quantum comb) on Nanowerk,
Quantum computing promises ultra-fast communication, computation and more powerful ways to encrypt sensitive information. But trying to use quantum states as carriers of information is an extremely delicate business. Now two physicists have shown, mathematically, how to gently tease out unwanted knots in quantum communication, while keeping the information intact.
The scientist as a hairdresser? Teasing and combing out knots? It’s very different from the more usual science fiction reference and it hints at creativity (good hairdressers are creative).
The University of Albany is really pulling out all the stops lately. In addition to their NANOvember events they have just announced the first undergraduate programme for nanoscale science studies in the US. From the news item on Nanowerk,
The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (“CNSE”) of the University at Albany announced today that it is now accepting applications for admission to its groundbreaking undergraduate program, which represents the nation’s first comprehensive baccalaureate curriculum in Nanoscale Science.
As I commented in a previous posting (Nov.9.2009), IBM did invest $1.5B into New York state for a nano research centre and it would seem that this new university programme is very well set to provide future employees.
One more thing, girl scouts. 200 of them were hosted by the CNSE in a Nano Explorations Program. From the news item on Nanowerk,
The event was part of CNSE’s celebration of NANOvember, a month-long community and educational outreach initiative that includes a series of programs and activities highlighting the increasing impact of nanotechnology and the global leadership of the UAlbany NanoCollege in the most important science of the 21st century. The event included a presentation on the emerging science of nanotechnology and the career opportunities it offers; hands-on activities that showcased the role of nanotechnology research and development, with a special focus on clean and renewable energy technologies; a gowning demonstration that illustrated how researchers prepare to work in CNSE’s state-of-the-art cleanrooms; and tours of CNSE’s Albany NanoTech Complex, with tools and facilities that are unmatched at any university in the world.
What really impresses me with the NANOvember programming is the range and imagination they’ve used to communicate about nanotechnology.
Tags: beauty and cosmetics, Canada, Canadian, CNSE, College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, environment, European Union, Germany, girl scouts, hairdressing, Innovation Demonstration Fund, metaphors, nanotech, nanotechnology, NANOvember, Ontario, quantum computing, regulations, University of Albany, Vive Nano