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QuantumSphere’s Dr. Kim McGrath selected to speak at NanoTx 2006
Presentation entitled “Clean Energy and Power for the Masses” will cover QSI-Nano™ Enabled Clean Energy Applications

A state with a reputation for all things big is hosting a conference this week about nanotechnology, the science of the very small.

The “nanoTX’06” conference, running Tuesday through Thursday at the Dallas Convention Center, will bring together thousands of researchers, business leaders and politicians from around the world to discuss the latest nanotech developments.

Headlining the event are Gov. Rick Perry, Dallas billionaire and two-time presidential candidate Ross Perot, and Britain’s Prince Andrew.

The science involves the manufacture and manipulation of materials at the molecular or atomic level. At the nano scale, materials are measured in nanometers, or billionths of a meter. Nanoscale materials are generally less than 100 nanometers in diameter. A human hair, in comparison, is roughly 80,000 nanometers in diameter.

Though there are many such conferences around the world, nanoTX’06 arrives in Dallas as Texas tries to compete with other states for business investment and research dollars, said Kelly Kordzik, president of the Texas Nanotechnology Initiative, a statewide advocacy group.

“We need to return to having a conference in Texas so that we can center the world’s attention back on this state,” he said.

Texas has long been a hotbed for the field. The state was home to pioneers like the late Richard Smalley, a Nobel Laureate and Rice University professor who in 1985 helped discover buckyballs, a new, soccer ball-shaped form of carbon. He died from cancer last year at the age of 62.

According to the Nanotechnology Foundation of Texas, a privately funded research organization, there are about 30 nanotech businesses operating in Texas.

At the same time, Rice and the Universities of Texas in Austin, Arlington and Dallas operate nanotechnology research centers.

In July, the University of Texas at Austin began seeking grants to help create the South West Academy for Nanoelectronics, which proponents see as a catalyst for the emerging industry in the state.

The most recent 2005 ranking by Small Times, an industry magazine, had Texas tied with Michigan as the fifth hottest region for nanotechnology for the second year in a row. California was ranked No. 1, followed by Massachusetts, New Mexico and New York.

But Kordzik said more coordination is needed between governments, research institutions and businesses to strengthen the state’s position.

Part of the challenge, he said, is to demystify nanotechnology for the public. To that end, nanoTX’06 is taking the unusual move of being open to the general public, so long as they pay a $40 admission fee.

Experts predict the technology has the potential to revolutionize everything from electronics to health care.

“It is at the infancy, but what we’re hoping to show at the conference is that it is more prevalent than we actually thought,” Kordzik said. “When nanotechnology will really show its promise is when it starts affecting the size of computer chips, when it starts providing very effective treatments for cancer.”

Click to Read Dr. McGrath’s Bio

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