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Darwin Day – Nanotechnology: Size Matters (Grand Rapids)

February 11, 2015
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

The Sweet House
254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

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Organized by:
Jennifer Beahan
Phone: 616-698-2342 x801
Email: jbeahan@centerforinquiry.org


Nanotechnology, as many of us know, means the study of matter at the scale of the nanometer — a billionth of a meter. But why is a simple length measurement the basis for an entire scientific discipline? After all, we don’t have a discipline called ‘millimetertechnology.’ The reason that unlike the constancy of the properties of matter that we understand intuitively in our daily lives (a ton of gold or an ounce of gold is still gold, right?), when gold (or other matter) is reduced to nanometer-sized particles, its properties can change radically.

To illustrate one of the new properties that has emerged from the study of matter at the nanometer scale, we will delve more deeply into the extremely useful and really quite entertaining property of superhydrophobicity. This is a new property of matter that emerges only at the nanometer scale but is easily observed in our daily lives, if you know where to look. We will examine the origins of the scientific study of this phenomenon in the plant world and move on to the subsequent development of applications that are already beginning to impact our daily lives. We will even speculate about the role of superhydrohobicity in Buddhist philosophy. We will manufacture one of these surfaces on the tabletop and everyone will have the opportunity to play with a variety of superhydrophobic materials.

Meetings are open to the Public

After the meeting, join us at Vitale’s Restaurant, 834 Leonard NE, Grand Rapids, MI to socialize. View Map

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About Thomas Deits, PhD

Adjunct Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University

Dr. Thomas Deits has a broad background in sciences from chemical process technology to bionanotechnology, and is committed to encouraging students to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). As “Dr. Nano” he makes engaging presentations about the new field of nanotechnology to help inspire students to consider STEM careers. He established NanoDay at Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing, Michigan and is presently serving as Project Director for a new initiative in STEM education called Innovation 5. Dr. Deits received his Bachelor’s degree in chemistry and history from the University of California, San Diego and his Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry at the University of Washington. He has served as Director of Molecular Biology at MBI International and as Chairperson of the Science Department at Lansing Community College. He is presently an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Michigan State University and also serves as a Mentor for the National Science Foundation Mentor-Connect project. He is also active in the formation of the new Institute for Advanced Composite Manufacturing Innovation, a $259 MM project in which MSU is one of the four lead institutions.