Nanorex Inc., the world's first developer of tools for the design, simulation and analysis of atomically precise molecular machine systems, will launch its educational outreach program by placing an early pre-release version of its powerful molecular modeling software at the fingertips of some of California's brightest high school students.
Students who report for the Nanotechnology and Robotics class at the California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) on July 9 at UC Santa Cruz will begin testing NanoEngineer-1, the first computer aided design (CAD) program for the nanotech age. Scheduled for release this fall, NanoEngineer-1's 3-D, interactive environment and molecular physics engine will enable the students to invent and test new kinds of molecular machines and devices, designed atom by atom exactly to their specifications.
"This is NanoEngineer-1's first job in the 'real world,' and I am very pleased it will introduce students to the fundamentals of molecular modeling and molecular dynamics simulations," said Nanorex CEO Mark Sims. "Nanorex was founded on the idea that in addition to teaching young people the fundamentals of chemical, biological and mechanical engineering at the nanoscale, this next generation of nanotech innovators will also need to be able to 'see' how nature's fundamental building blocks can come together in new ways.
"It is our hope that Nanorex, through educational partnerships like this one with COSMOS, will help change the way we all think about nanotechnology by no longer defining it within the framework of existing applications and products. I'm eager to see what these bright, creative kids come up with."
Two other virtual teachers will join NanoEngineer-1 in the COSMOS classroom. The NanoKids and "nanocar," both born in the laboratory of Rice University nanotech researcher James M. Tour, will take on new life as students model and animate them. The NanoKids are characters, based on actual anthropomorphic molecules synthesized in the laboratory, who help students and teachers visualize molecular-scale science in a way that is fun and easy to understand. The world's first single-molecule car comes complete with chassis, axles and four buckyball wheels. In a kind of reverse CAD process, students will use NanoEngineer-1 to model the nanocar and learn how to animate it moving across a gold surface, illustrating the same phenomena demonstrated in Tour's lab earlier this year. NanoEngineer-1 will also help students model and simulate nanomechanical bearings, gears, molecular machine assemblies and other molecular structures that can be found in the "Gallery" section of nanorex.com
"Students have never before been this close to actually building things atom by atom," said COSMOS instructor Miguel F. Aznar, director of education for the Foresight Nanotech Institute. "Using NanoEngineer-1, this will be the first time we've been able to give high school students hands-on practice with nanotechnology structures. It makes nanotechnology tangible, connecting it to the science they've studied."
Nanorex Inc., based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is a developer of computational modeling tools made specifically for the design and analysis of productive nanosystems. Nanorex's first product, NanoEngineer-1, is a 3-D nanomechanical CAD program. It includes both a sophisticated CAD module for the design and modeling of atomically precise components and assemblies, and a molecular dynamics module for simulating the properties of mechanical nanodevices. NanoEngineer-1 is currently under development and is scheduled for release in fall 2006. For more information about Nanorex, visit http://www.nanorex.com
Designed specifically for talented and motivated high school students, the California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) is a 4-week summer residential program for high school scholars with demonstrated interest and achievement in math and science. The program is also open to exceptionally advanced and emotionally mature 8th graders capable of participating in a one-month program away from home. This intensive experience is intended to encourage the brightest and most promising young minds to continue their interest in these fields. Located on four University of California campuses (Davis, Irvine, Santa Cruz, and San Diego), COSMOS provides students with an unparalleled opportunity to work side-by-side with outstanding researchers and university faculty, covering topics that extend beyond the typical high school curriculum. For more information, visit the COSMOS Web site: http://www.ucop.edu/cosmos/