Breaking Ground in Nanotechnology
February 25, 2011
At the February 17 groundbreaking for the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology President Amy Gutmann, Engineering Dean Eduardo Glandt and Arts and Sciences Dean Rebecca Bushnell gathered with a group of trustees, faculty, alumni, and friends to celebrate a quantum leap in nanoscale research at Penn.
Nanoscience -- groundbreaking research conducted at the molecular and atomic level -- holds great promise for solving some of the world’s most pressing problems. Imagine medical care delivered before the appearance of any symptoms because it’s tailored to your DNA. Batteries that can power an electric car for 150 miles. Clean water for billions of the world's poorest people.
“The Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology represents everything we mean when we say that we are making history,” President Gutmann told
When completed in 2013, the Singh Center -- the first building at Penn to integrate knowledge across two schools -- will place the University at the forefront of the emerging and vital field of nanoscience. Its state-of-the-art labs, and teaching and study spaces will provide the best possible facilities not only for Penn's nanotech researchers in engineering but also for those on campus doing cutting-edge nanoscience in chemistry, physics, biology, and medicine. That collaboration will keep Penn at the leading edge of nanoscience and strengthen existing partnerships on campus, like the Penn Center for Energy Innovation and the Nano/Bio Interface Center.
The Singh Center will also create new collaborations between industry and Penn, providing
world class sophisticated electron microscopes, optics labs, and 10,000 square feet of nanofabrication clean rooms
designed to eliminate dust, vibrations, and electromagnetic interference -- indispensible features the campus currently lacks for prototyping new devices for the next wave of nanotechnology. With Penn as a leader in this fast-moving technology, the translation of fundamental research into commercial products will strengthen the regional economy and make this University a hub for nanoscience research in the Mid-Atlantic.
"Building to the east is a big statement for Penn," Glandt said. "We chose the location on 33rd and Walnut Streets as an iconic gateway connecting the city to the campus." And, true to Penn’s commitment to engaging locally, the Singh Center will draw community members for Engineering’s Project SEED, Nano Day@Penn, and Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science (GEMS) Camp and other programs to promote nano understanding, interest, and skill among secondary school teachers and students, and nano enthusiasts at large. One of the unique features of Penn's nanoscience building is that it is sheathed in transparent glass, offering views into labs which were once the private domain of researchers and scientists and opening up the science of nanotechnology to the broader community.
Penn's nanotechnology facility was made possible by the visionary
philanthropy of Krishna Singh, GME’69, GR’72, and many dedicated
supporters. “I have always wanted to help Penn and the local region develop a leadership role in one of the emergent technologies,” Singh said. “Nanotechnology has an enormous future.”
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