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How do I Choose the Best Nanotechnology Course?

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  • Written By: Cheryl L. Likins
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2016
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Many resources are available to assist with choosing the best nanotechnology course; however, before doing so, a self-assessment is in order. You should determine your familiarity with nanotechnology and your background in the field. Further, you should also consider whether you want a degree in nanotechnology or just the opportunity to enroll in a nanotechnology course or two for personal enrichment. Having a sense of your goals will help in determining which is the best nanotechnology course for you.

Nanotechnology is one of the most exciting and promising cutting-edge industries. This field involves the use of atoms or small groups of atoms which are the basic units of all material things. Atoms are very small and measured in nanometers or billionths of a meter. The goal of the nanotechnology engineer is to refine material objects on the atomic level.

As research into nanotechnology evolves, the processes and structures seen in nature may be duplicated to improve the quality of human life. Using nanotechnology, engineers may manipulate the molecular properties of a variety of objects that could improve many consumer products, computer systems, electronics, and mechanical devices. Refinements in safety, efficiency, and quality are possible with nanotechnology.

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Nanotechnology is based on the principles of physics, chemistry, biology and engineering, so students should be prepared to take foundational courses in these subjects. Beginning students should find a nanotechnology course in the fundamentals of nanoscience, which will provide a broad survey of nanotechnology using chemistry, physics, and the biological sciences. You may then specialize and enroll in more advanced nanotechnology courses, seminars, and internships depending on your educational and career goals. Nanoelectronics, nanomaterials, and nanobiotechnology are among the areas of specialization. Not every nanotechnology course and program have been approved by an accreditation body, however.

In the United States, engineering programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Students are encouraged to search for accredited programs and courses in public and private two and four-year educational institutions. These courses in nanotechnology can be found in many engineering departments. Further investigation of the individual programs, faculty profiles, and articulation agreements can yield information about the relative value of the courses and the transferability of credits. The cost of attendance, books, and supplies should be assessed, while scholarships and grants may be available at some institutions.

Mid-career students may require professional development courses in nanotechnology. In this case, they should carefully choose which institution and program they wish to utilize. Consult the International Association of Nanotechnology for information about advanced training.

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croydon
Post 3

@Ana1234 - I do think it's good that this generation of scientists have grown up hearing stories about the so-called grey-goo scenario, where nanobots take over the world. I suspect the existence of the story will prevent it from happening.

The thing those stories don't take into account is the way that technology works. Nanotechnology and nanoscience are very broad topics and aren't just about developing tiny robots.

It's about manipulation at a very small level and in order to do that properly, you really need to be able to understand it. I don't think they will ever accidentally invent a dangerous nanobot because I just don't think they'll ever invent one that isn't fairly easy to destroy.

Ana1234
Post 2

@Iluviaporos - I'm interested in how this is going to be handled precisely because nanotechnology use could be so broad. It's not going to take much more than one mistake to become a disaster, and I've read a lot of scenarios where that disaster is basically inevitable.

The problem is that in order to make nanotechnology really viable in broad applications, you need to make it self-replicating, and once it is self replicating, it can essentially act like another form of life. One that has no predators to control its growth and potentially can subsist off anything.

lluviaporos
Post 1

Nanotechnology is a very exciting industry because it just has so many applications. It has the potential to be used in chemistry, biology, robotics, computer science and pretty much almost every branch of science you can think of.

We aren't at the point where we can do that yet, but I think it's going to start happening within the next few decades, so this is definitely a field I would recommend young scientists to get involved in, even if they are specializing in another branch.

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