Nanoscale Science Building Gets Explosive Start

first_imgShareCONTACT: Lia Unrau PHONE: (713) 831-4793 NANOSCALE SCIENCE BUILDING GETS EXPLOSIVE STARTRice University chemist Richard Smalley and his students set off small explosions which broke ground today for the future home of the Center for Nanoscale Science andTechnology. A nanotube ribbon-cutting ceremony triggered the explosive event. Nanotubes are nanoscale hollow, cylindrical carbon fibers, like open-ended buckyballs knitted together. They are excellent conductors of electricity and believed to be 100 times stronger thansteel. Watching on a video screen, more than 200 attendees witnessed the microscopic ceremony, in which a multiwalled nanotube (a tube with other tubes nested inside) was used to cut a smaller invisiblerope of carbon fiber, pulled taut between spring-loaded holders. When the multiwalled nanotube cut the rope, the released tensiontriggered two explosions at the site.“One of the main functions of this building is to bring to this campus truly world-class faculty,” said Smalley, director of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology and Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry and professor of physics. “This is part of the endeavor to make Rice a truly world-class university, at the same level of stellar success as the best ones you can think of. In time, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be, by any criteria, trulyworld class.” Rice President Malcolm Gillis said, “The facility that we are commemorating today is to be seen as an asset not only for Rice University, but an asset for the whole city of Houston, all of Harris County and, indeed, all of Texas. One of the reasons behind our willingness to invest scarce university resources in this new and complex field has been the presence of several other nearby institutions, with capacities that complement and augment our own capacities in nanoscale science and technology. With a lot of hard work and, perhaps, just a little bit of luck, this facility today, coupled with those in the Texas Medical Center, at the University of Houston and at NASA, should constitute the center of a nanotechnology version of Silicon Valley, located in Houston,Texas.” Chair of the Board of Governors Charles Duncan said, “We are continuing a basic commitment to put our resources in those selective areas where Rice can make a tangible difference. We are a small institution and we’ve got to focus on those niches where we can be and are truly excellent. Rice must continue to be selective in its resource commitment, to shepherd those advancements that have the potential to have the most positive impact on the world atlarge.” Construction will begin immediately, and the building is expected to be ready for students by the start of the 1997 fall semester. The building is part of Rice’s nanoscale science and technology initiative, a commitment to a new facility, endowed faculty chairs and equipment for research in the field. A $32.3 million campaign isunder way to support the initiative. The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology will support interdisciplinary research in the field of nanoscale science, the science of creating materials and machines atom by atom, molecule bymolecule. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter. Designed by Antoine Predock, a New Mexico-based architect, the four-story building will have labs, classrooms and conference space on every floor. An advanced research laboratory will feature the most sophisticated equipment for nanoscale research. Twelve faculty members from chemistry, physics and electrical engineering will be housed in the building. It will be the centerpiece for nanoscale collaboration, which will involve about 50faculty members on campus. In addition to the nanoscience research laboratories and classrooms, the building will house about one-third of the chemistrydepartment faculty and undergraduate chemistry labs. ### FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThislast_img read more