Scott: What if you could build a smaller, faster iPhone? Or create a smart drug that can target a certain area in the body and deliver a dose to right where it is needed.
These students are working on a type of engineering that can make it all possible, called nanotechnology.
Welcome to Nano High. Nanotechnology is the science of creating tiny molecular-size machines that can manipulate matter one atom at a time.
But what does that actually mean?
Well, picture it like this: all things are made up of atoms. And if we shrink down to what is called the nanoscale, we could move those atoms like Legos. And you could put them together in different combinations and create all kinds of new materials, from cutting edge medicines to small, super fast computer chips.
To give you an idea of how small we are talking, about 80,000 nanometer-sized particles were able to fit into the width of a single human hair.
So why bother with something so small?
Jeff Beyer: Let’s say we focus on electricity. Electrons move at a certain speed and they have to deal with friction and heat and resistance to motion. On the nanoscale, they actually can flow at a different rate. And when they start to put together iPods and the MP3 players, we want to fit more and more electronics into those little areas.
Scott: And that is why our electronic gadgets keep shrinking.
Nanotech is considered the new frontier of science.
Josiah Pickett: It’s a brand new field. And it’s really interesting all the different applications it has in your life.
Scott: Nano High is actually a course that students from Albany High School in New York can take. This year-long program is the first of its kind at a public school. And it lets students work hands-on along side the pros.
Khaledah Seraj: The experience you get here is a lot different than just sitting in a classroom and listening to the teacher talk. Where here you actually get to see it because you actually do everything that the teacher is teaching you.
Josiah: We don’t have the technology at the classroom to do this.
Scott: Nano High gives students a head start toward a growing new career.
According to the National Science Foundation, there will be nearly one million people working in nanotech by 2015.
Khaledah: Before, I didn’t want to but after doing this program, I’m actually going to go into a science and math field.
Scott: Within the next two years, nearly $3 trillion worth of the world’s manufactured goods will involve some type of nanotech engineering. That means you could wind up with a nanotech job that deals with DNA fingerprinting, solar energy, or even one involving sports.
Lukas Porto: There’s new products, such as creating more air-efficient balls that last much longer, which has to do with the nano fields, and making more efficient equipment for sports, which maybe I can find myself being interested in in the future.
Scott: So, what is next for students who are interested in nanotechnology? High school students should take science courses, like biology, chemistry and physics.
The nanotech job field is diverse. Some jobs require additional training after high school, while others require a doctorate degree. It depends on what you want to do.
So, training can vary from just a few months to nine years of college.
And nanotech salaries range from $30,000 to $94,000, with the average at $79,000.
And there is no doubt about it, nanotechnology is the future.
April Dawson: Where our world is going now, we’re going to need more scientists. They need to get their hands on stuff like this because the world is moving fast.
Scott: Scott Evans, Channel One News.
- Do you think you would enjoy a career in nanotechnology?