Tag Archives: Alireza Nojeh

University of British Columbia gets $3.5M in funding for nanoscience and other sciences

One-third to one-half of the researchers getting grants are working on nanotechnology projects. From a March 1, 2016 University of British Columbia (UBC) news release (received via email),

Research into forest renewal, quantum computer nanotechnology, solar power, high-tech manufacturing, forestry products and the Subarctic ocean climate gained a boost today, with the announcement of $3.5 million in funding for six UBC projects from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The funding comes from NSERC’s Strategic Partnership Grants, which support scientific partnerships to strengthen the Canadian economy, society and environment.

Konrad Walus, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

A framework for embedding, simulation and design of computational nanotechnology using a quantum annealing processor [emphasis mine] — $394,500

This project will work with Quantum Silicon Inc. [emphasis mine] to conduct experiments that provide better insight into the potential of quantum computing, and will develop design rules for future designers of the technology.

Alireza Nojeh, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Thermionic solar energy converter — $510,500

In close collaboration with four Canadian industrial partners, this project will establish a novel approach to solar electricity generation using recent discoveries in nanostructured materials.

With mention of quantum annealing, I would have expected their industrial partner to be D-Wave Systems, a Vancouver-based company which has gotten a lot of attention for its quantum annealing processor (a Dec. 16, 2015 post titled: Google announces research results after testing 1,097-qubit D-Wave 2X™ quantum computers is one of my most recent pieces about the company). The company mentioned, Quantum Silicon, is based in Alberta.

There is one project where I believe at least some of the work is being done at the nanoscale or less (from the March 1, 2016 news release0,

Harry Brumer, Professor, Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC

Biorefining of novel cellulosics from forest fibre resources — $532,812

Working with a Canadian forest products company, this project will use genomic and biochemical methods to develop new technology for wood-fibre modification.

And for the curious, here are the other projects (from the March 1, 2016 news release),

Suzanne Simard, Professor, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences

Designing successful forest renewal practices for our changing climate — $929,000

This project will investigate novel forest renewal methods, and establish recommendations for best harvesting and regeneration practices under changing climate conditions.

Chadwick Sinclair, Professor, Faculty of Applied Science – Materials Engineering

Through-process modeling for optimized electron beam additive manufacturing — $484,400

Working in collaboration with Canadian electron-beam processor PAVAC Industries Inc. [emphasis mine], this project will develop a through-process model for additive manufacturing that will link machine control to material microstructure and properties.

Philippe Tortell, Professor, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

Quantifying climate-dependent and anthropogenic impacts on ecosystem services in the Subarctic Pacific Ocean; State-of-the-art observational tools to inform policy and management — $707,100

University scientists and Fisheries and Oceans Canada will use field-based observations to generate satellite-based models of ecosystem productivity to examine fish yields and environmental variability.

PAVAC Industries is headquartered in Richmond, BC, Canada,.

Congratulations to the researchers!

Is nano good for jobs?

The idea that nanotechnology might be able to help pull the US economy out of it’s current economic crisis is certainly being discussed seriously. For example, Intel CEO, Paul Otellini, announced a nanotechnology investment of $7B in February 2009.  (There’s more about this in my blog posting of Feb. 11, 2009). Now the folks at the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies have announced  a new event, Nanotechnology: Will It Drive a New Innovation Economy for the U.S.? on Monday, March 23, 2009 from 9:30 am to 10:30 am PST (if you’re on the East Coast and can attend they will serve a light lunch but you need to RSVP. More info. here.)The two speakers, Philip Shapira and Alan Porter, both have links to the Georgia (US)  Institute of Technology. I mention that because last October (2008) the Japanese government announced they were funding four research satellite projects in institutions outside of Japan. it was described as a unique collaboration and the Georgia Institute of Technology is the location for one of these research satellites. There’s more information here at Azonano. (Note: The headline focuses on the University of Cambridge so you do have to read on to find the information about the other sites.)

I attended a lecture or nanotechnology which was part of the University of British Columbia’s (Canada) research week. Professor Alireza Nojeh (electrical engineering) gave a charming presentation. I was curious about how he would deal with some of the problems you encounter when explaining nanotechnology. He focused on measurements, size, and scale at the beginning and did a better job than I do when I’m presenting. Still, I haven’t seen anyone really crack that barrier of how you describe something that’s unseen. The images help to convey scale but there’s a point at which most people are going to have to take a huge leap in imagination. Of course, we did that with germs but the ‘germ’ leap occurred before living memory so we’ll probably have to relearn that skill.

Dr. Nojeh had another problem, it’s a very big topic. I noticed that he avoided much talk of biology and medicine (I do too) and only briefly discussed potential health concerns. I think they will be webcasting this (they were recording it) but this is probably one of those talks that were better attended in person. I will try to find out where the webcast will be posted.