Particle Engineering Research Center

"...Nano For The Rest Of Us"

2011 Spring Course & Section Numbers

Undergraduate Students: 1 Credit EMA 4935 (5278)
Graduate Students: 1 Credit EMA 6938 (5289)

To access the formal course website, please click here (course registration required)

Course Coordinator

Dr. Brij M. Moudgil
Distinguished Professor and Alumni Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Director, Particle Engineering Research Center
Phone: 352-846-1194
Office Hours: By Appointment

Assistant Coordinator

Dr. Rodney S. Guico
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Particle Engineering Research Center
Phone: 352-273-1242
Office Hours: Thursdays 2:00 P.M. - 3:00 P.M.

2011 Spring Meeting Time & Location

Thursdays, 4:05 P.M. - 4:55 P.M. (9th Period), Room E119, Computer Science Engineering (CSE) Building


None; reading assignments will be made available for each class as needed.



Course Description

As we complete the first decade of the 21st century, our society is witness to a growing divergence between the cumulative and exponential progress in nanotechnology on one end and, on the other end, an apparent deficiency of comparable progress in society's ability to use these new nanotechnological tools thoughtfully and responsibly. In this context, engineers and scientists of nano-based systems and devices are not as sensitive to the societal aspects of the technology they create, while the rest of society are somewhat oblivious to the systematic processes and ideas involved in bringing products to the public.

The reality however is that technology goes hand-in-hand with society: each side needs to be made appreciative of the other's contribution through synergistic exchange of knowledge.

An informed citizen should able to appreciate nanotechnology's potential benefits as well as the possible dangers which these advances represent. This introductory course will achieve a truly TRANS-disciplinary mix of students from engineering, natural sciences, humanities and behavioral/social sciences and will introduce these students to basic nanoscale phenomena and processes, principles of matter at the nanoscale, and nanotechnology's connection to other disciplines and application areas of societal relevance: there will be marketing for mathematics majors, medicine for musicians, toxicity for theater majors, atoms for anthropologists, risk assessment for religion majors, safety for sociologists, environment effects for english majors and ethics for engineers, but in the end it will all be Nano For The Rest Of Us.

Course Objectives

Our goal is to keep the engineering students interested with various societal implications of nanotechnology and the humanities and sciences students excited to explore new horizons of nanotechnology. To that end, the course objectives are to:

  • To enhance science and engineering literacy for the scientists and humanists, and, correspondingly, to enhance societal, ethical, environmental, economic, medical and historical literacy for the engineers;
  • To attract a diverse group of talented and enthusiastic students to the workforce of tomorrow, which would include a broad spectrum of jobs not just at the academic and industrial levels, but also at the governmental and regulatory levels; and,
  • To prepare a capable and knowledgeable workforce for emerging technologies.

Course Outline

  1. Basics of Nanotechnology
    1. An Introduction To Nanotechnology (...Nano For The Rest Of Us)
    2. An Introduction To Nanoscale Science (Understanding Small Systems)
  2. Societal, Ethical, Economic and Environmental Aspects of Nanotechnology
    1. Economic Impact (The Business Of Nanotechnology)
    2. Environmental Implications (It's Not Easy Being NanoGreen)
    3. NanoToxicity (Challenges In Evaluating The Health And Safety Implications Of Nanomaterials)
    4. Ethical & Moral Implications (The Rights & Wrongs Of Nanotechnology)
    5. Historical Impact (Locating Nanotechnology Historically)
  3. Additional Aspects of Nanotechnology
    1. NanoMedicine (Nanotechnology For Personalized Medicine: Promises, Perceptions, Pitfalls, And Profits)
    2. Public Policy (Nano Meets Washington - Surviving Government By Gaslight)
    3. Legal Implications (Who Owns You? The Legal Implications Of Nano & The Patenting Of Human Genes)
    4. The Media (Communicating Nanotechnology To The Media And Public)

    Promotional Videos (Course Project)

    Fall 2010 (L. Morin, M. Rutland)

    Fall 2010 (E. Garcia, R. Gresham, T. Khosla, M. Kiep)

    Spring 2010 (L. Bruns, M. Powers, R. Ross, G. Tozzi)