NanoUtah video, via webcam

I’m amazed at what my iPhone and Voddio can do. But that said, amazing technology gives us new and spectacular ways for things to fail. Since this week’s project consistently “Failed to Render to Video” despite repeated attempts, reboots, and memory clearing, I recorded the project via webcam while it was in preview mode in the editor.

As a result, both the audio and video quality are sub-par, but hey, sometimes life’s like that. At least it’s an interesting topic this week. (Also, the first 1:15 is just me setting things up, so you should skip forward in the video to that point!)

Sometimes it’s the little things.

A regional conference called nanoUtah brought together professionals and students from all over the state to share knowledge and enthusiasm about nanotechnology. The event had a special feeling of relevance this year because of its pricey, pristine backdrop: Utah Nanofab, the University of Utah’s new high-tech facility.

Nanotechnology means science down at the atomic and molecular levels. Research on that scale is painstaking and requires expensive machinery, but industries as varied as microelectronics, mining, agriculture, and medicine all have a clear potential to be dramatically affected by innovation in nanoscience.

Dr. Anne Anderson, a friendly and sharp professor at Utah State, has attended the conference for four years. As a biologist, she researches microorganisms and plants interact with potentially toxic heavy metals, and “drifted into nanoparticles more by accident than by design.”

She enjoys the conference, and says:

“It’s a [chance to come and see] what’s out there, and how many things are going on in the world. When you’re studying hard, it’s hard to get that breadth. It’s really neat to come out and be exposed to things,” Anderson said.

The exposure is good for professionals and students alike, says BYU professor Matt Linford, who is on the conference’s programming committee.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Dennis E. Discher is an award-winning professor from the University of Pennsylvania’s Biophysical Engineering and NanoBio-Polymers lab spoke to about 135 people.

Discher was impressed when he toured the Utah Nanofab facility, and liked the way it integrated groups working with biomaterial and groups working with hard materials.

“The nanofab lab–brand new, and finishing off some of the rooms–[accomodates] both bio and soft material polymers and hard materials. And so I see going forward students working on very different projects bumping into each other while using these facilities, and hopefully fireworks, new directions will emerge from that. You know like, “Hey use that tool, that AFM or electron microscope and just throw our particles in,” late one night. And [they can] see new things and make new things.”

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