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Climate Change Expert to Lead Nano Town Hall

Symposium to conclude with climate, energy and innovation discussion

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Some of the world’s top nanoscientists and engineers will gather Oct. 10 in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Orrington Hotel in Evanston to discuss the latest advances and issues, from nanocarbons to climate change, at Northwestern University’s 2013 International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN) Symposium.

The symposium’s scientific sessions, each led by a distinguished speaker, will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:10 p.m.

This year, the symposium will conclude with a Nanotechnology World-Wide Town Hall on “Climate, Energy and Innovation” featuring Harvard University’s Daniel Schrag, who serves on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The town hall will be held from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. and is designed to engage the general public.

“Climate change and its impact on the world is one of the greatest issues facing modern society,” said Chad A. Mirkin, IIN director and the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. “Dan Schrag is one of the world’s experts on assessing its potential impact and, more importantly, what can be done to counterbalance its effects.”

The symposium, including the town hall, is free but registration is required. The town hall will be webcast live for those unable to attend.

Schrag, the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology and
 professor of environmental science at Harvard, will discuss a variety of strategies for meeting the world’s energy needs and preserving economic prosperity and security, while protecting human and natural systems from climate impacts. Particular focus will be given to the hard choices that confront U.S. climate policy in the context of the need for continuing technological innovation.

Mark Ratner, the Lawrence B. Dumas Distinguished University Professor and co-director of the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern University, will moderate an open discussion after Schrag’s talk.

The scientific session topics and speakers are:

  • “Nanocarbons as a Model System for Nanotechnology Research” -- Mildred Dresselhaus, professor of physics and electrical engineering and 
Emerita Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • “Graphene Supercapacitors” -- Richard Kaner, professor of chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles
  • “Nano-Bio Interfaces and Single-Cell Transcriptomics: Innovative New Tools for Cell and Neurobiology” -- Hongkun Park, professor of chemistry and physics, Harvard University
  • “Reinterpreting the Genetic Code: Non-Canonical Amino Acids in Protein Science and Engineering” -- David Tirrell, Ross McCollum-William H. Corcoran Professor and professor of chemistry and chemical engineering, California Institute of Technology 
  • “Carbon Nanotechnology: From Graphene to Nanodevices” -- James Tour, T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Chemistry and professor of computer science, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, Rice University 

The symposium’s full program, registration and webcast information are online.

Headquartered at Northwestern, the International Institute for Nanotechnology is an umbrella organization that catalyzes and supports interdisciplinary research focused on the development of transformative nanotechnologies. The institute currently represents more than $600 million in nanotechnology research, educational programs and supporting infrastructure.

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