Nano jobs, bits, and bobs

There’s a postdoctoral position at Penn State Center for Nanoscale Science (from the NISE [Nanoscale Informal Science Education] Net October newsletter),

Nano Employment Opportunity: Postdoctoral Position in Education and Outreach with Penn State MRSEC

The Penn State Center for Nanoscale Science, a NSF-supported Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), has a postdoctoral position available in education and outreach. The successful candidate will join a team developing and presenting education and outreach programs materials including nanoscience curriculum for K-12 students and teachers among other tasks. Interested applicants should go to the Penn State job opportunity site and scroll down to the Postdoctoral Position – Center for Nanoscale Science (MRSEC Center) listing for more details and application instructions.

The newsletter also features its monthly nano haiku,

Teeny-tiny stuff,
you act so different now.
Wish you were still big.

by Leigha Horton of the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Thanks to someone on Twitter (sorry, I don’t remember who) I foundĀ  Nature journalist Geoff Brumfiel’s interview (published Oct. 7, 2010) with one of the winners (Andre Geim) of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Physics. Given my interest in intellectual property, here’s Geim’s response to a question about patents,

You haven’t yet patented graphene. Why is that?

We considered patenting; we prepared a patent and it was nearly filed. Then I had an interaction with a big, multinational electronics company. I approached a guy at a conference and said, “We’ve got this patent coming up, would you be interested in sponsoring it over the years?” It’s quite expensive to keep a patent alive for 20 years. The guy told me, “We are looking at graphene, and it might have a future in the long term. If after ten years we find it’s really as good as it promises, we will put a hundred patent lawyers on it to write a hundred patents a day, and you will spend the rest of your life, and the gross domestic product of your little island, suing us.” That’s a direct quote.

I considered this arrogant comment, and I realized how useful it was. There was no point in patenting graphene at that stage. You need to be specific: you need to have a specific application and an industrial partner. Unfortunately, in many countries, including this one, people think that applying for a patent is an achievement. In my case it would have been a waste of taxpayers’ money.

This is a very engaging and funny (particularly Geim’s response to the final question: “Finally, are you one of those Nobel prizewinners who is going to go crazy now that you’ve won?” of the interview.

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