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Media Advisory


NSF PA/M 03-22 - May 1, 2003

Workshop on Nanotechnology Grand Challenges in the Environment to Be Held at NSF

Arlington, VA - A multidisciplinary group of scholars will meet at the National Science Foundation (NSF) May 8-9, 2003, for a visionary planning workshop to discuss how nanotechnology research can be used to protect, inform, manage and improve the environment and how potential harm from nanotechnology can be studied and prevented. This workshop is one of several held under the auspices of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) and will address research planning for both the environmental applications and implications of nanotechnology.

The workshop's May 8 morning session, 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., is open to the media. NSF's Mihail Roco, chair of the U.S. National Science and Technology Council's Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET), will present an overview of U.S. government efforts in nanotechnology research and development. Barbara Karn from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will give the charge and goal to the workshop participants. Alexandra Navrotsky of the University of California, Davis, will give a plenary talk on the relationship between nanotechnology and the environment, followed by plenary speakers on the five broad topics explored in the workshop:

  • Michael Zachariah, University of Minnesota-Applications for measurement in the environment: Sensors, monitors, models, separations, detection, data gathering and dissemination.

  • Kenneth Geiser, University of Massachusetts, Lowell-Applications for sustainable materials and resources: Water, waste (including reuse and recycling), pollution and energy issues.

  • Kenneth Klabunde, Kansas State University-Applications for sustainable processes: Bottom-up manufacturing, waste and water treatment, remanufacture and reuse, self-assembling systems, biomimicry and hierarchical structures.

  • Richard C. Flagan, California Institute of Technology-Implications in natural and global processes: Climate change; transport of aerosols, colloids and particulates; biomineralization; the role of biosystems.

  • Günter Oberdörster, University of Rochester-Implications in health and environmental safety: Environmental health, persistence, toxicity, fate and transport and the wet-dry interface.

Workshop participants will debate these topics in smaller groups and develop a vision for future research. The results of the workshop will be released in a report following the meeting.



Workshop on Nanotechnology Grand Challenges in the Environment


Mihail Roco of NSF, Barbara Karn of EPA and workshop plenary speakers


Thursday, May 8, 2003
8:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.


Gallery Ballroom, Hilton Arlington & Towers (adjacent to NSF)
950 North Stafford Street
Arlington, VA 22203 (above the Ballston metro stop)

For more information, contact David Hart, 703-292-7737,, or Estella Waldman, 202-564-6836,


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