Written on February 13, 2013
Professor Dominique Brossard was a recent guest on NPR's Science Friday program discussing her paper, "Science, New Media and the Public". The interview addressed some of the pitfalls of communicating science online and how to avoid and deal with them in the new normal about how science is published online. Click below for the full interview.
Written on February 01, 2013
Nine in 10 internet users in the United States turn to search engines to find information (1), and 60% of the U.S. public seeking information about specific scientific issues lists the Internet as their primary source of information (2). This has created a new urgency for scientists to pay attention to these trends and to the emerging scholarly literature about communicating science in this brave new “online” world.
Written on December 10, 2012Ian Robertson, Donald B. Willett professor of engineering at the University of Illinois and director of the National Science Foundation Division of Materials Research, has been selected as the new dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Written on November 30, 2012Professor Dietram A. Scheufele and Professor Thomas F. Kuech were recently added by American Association for the Advancement of Science into its rolls of elected fellows. This honor was given to professor Scheufele due to his distinguished contributions to the field of science communication. Professor Keuch was given this honor because of his outstanding research in the field of solid state materials synthesis and characterization.
Written on November 11, 2012
UW REU Students Jaritza Gomez and Joaquin Resasco were awarded a 2012 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Jaritza and Joaquin were participants in the 2010 UW REU Nanotechnology program. Joaquin’s proposal “Sorting of Carbon Nanotubes for use in Field Effect Transistors” will support his research at MIT. Jaritza will conduct her research at UW-Madison; her proposal “Development of semiconducting organic thin films with optimized molecular packing”.
Written on November 09, 2012Recent research by Thrust 3 has demonstrated that the interactions that arise between nanoparticles suspended in a liquid crystal can be manipulated over multiple orders of magnitude (ranging from 1 to 100 kBT) through control of the particles’ surface chemistry and their radius. Previous work with micron sized particles had established that particle-particle interactions are extremely strong and essentially irreversible. The Thrust’s results are significant in that they demonstrate that interactions between nanoparticles are fundamentally different from those between micro-particles, and they can in principle be controlled to yield reversible, equilibrium assemblies for potential applications in devices.
Written on November 09, 2012Thrust 2 has used the predictable, three-dimensional side chain patterns generated by β-peptides with single-molecule force spectroscopy to quantify how changes in nanometer-scale chemical patterns affect intermolecular interactions, with a particular focus on understanding hydrophobic interactions. In addition, and significantly, Thrust 2 used their findings to enable additional exciting discoveries regarding the way in which proximal charged groups influence hydrophobic interactions. Overall, these experiments performed by Thrust 2 elucidate two influences of proximal cationic groups on hydrophobic interactions, and broadly validate an experimental system that has the potential to substantially advance our understanding of intermolecular forces associated with hydrophobic domains on the molecular length scale.
Written on November 09, 2012
Imec announces the successful implementation of Self-Assembly (DSA) process line all-under-one-roof in academic lab-scale DSA process flow to fab-compatible Directed Self-Assembly (DSA) process line all-under-one-roof in Imec’s 300mm cleanroom fab.The upgrade of an academic lab-scale DSA process flow to a fab-comparable flow was realized in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin, AZ Electronic Materials and Tokyo Beccron Ltd. Imec’s DSA collaboration aims to address the critical hurdles to take DSA from the academic lab-scale environment into high volume manufacturing.
Written on November 09, 2012Thrust 3 has pioneered the use of optical mapping for high-throughput analysis of genomic DNA. An important step taken by the Thrust was the prediction and the corresponding demonstration that giant DNA “dumbbells” , produced by trapping the molecules in long nanoslits, enable stretching of genomic DNA well beyond previously possible (to nearly 100 % of the molecules’ contour length), thereby providing optical maps with single nucleotide resolution, and leading to the first demonstration of a full genome analysis by nanocoding.
Written on November 09, 2012NSEC continues to support the Materials Science Center (MSC) in the area of CryoTEM equipment, by replacement of the aging LEO 912 EFTEM, with a Tecnai T12 which has been upgraded for CryoTEM. For the first time on campus, a researcher in the Department of Neurology was able to use our NSEC funded equipment to prepare 70 plastic embedded sections with our ultramicrotome, and image them in the Tecnai T12 129KV TEM now in the Materials Science Center. The images were then processed in a extension if the ImageJ software called Fiji, being developed by the Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation at UW (supported by NIH) to produce an aligned 3-D model of the structure of a mouse motor neuron synaptic junction.
In addition, the NSEC supported a successful joint NSEC, Botany and BioChemistry NSF MRI proposal for an advanced 300KV FE(S)TEM that will bring automated EM tomography capability to UW-Madison.
Written on February 14, 2012Societal Implications Group faculty member Dietram Scheufele is co-organizing the National Academy of Sciences’ upcoming Sackler Colloquium which will take place on May 21-22 in Washington D.C. The colloquium deals with “the science of science communication,” and is co-organized with NAS President Ralph Cicerone, AAAS CEO Alan Leshner, and three other organizers. Societal Implications Group Leader Dominique Brossard will be one of the presenters. The colloquium will also result in a special issue of PNAS, co-edited by Baruch Fishoff and Dietram Scheufele.
Written on February 10, 2012Katrina Forest, professor of bacteriology and NSEC Thrust 2 faculty member, has been selected by the Institute for Biology Education as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Faculty Fellow for 2012. Forest was chosen as a fellow both for her excellence in teaching and for her dedication to passing their knowledge and skills along to the next generation of educators.
Written on December 27, 2011NSEC faculty member Michael Graham was among four University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers named fellows of the American Physical Society, an honor bestowed upon no more than half of one percent of the professional society’s membership. The peer-awarded designation is given in recognition of significant research advances or innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology.
Written on November 08, 2011NSEC faculty member Bob Hamers was among four University of Wisconsin–Madison professors to have won awards from the American Chemical Society (ACS) in recognition of research excellence. He will be honored at a ceremony next March at the society’s 243rd national meeting in San Diego.
Written on September 29, 2011The White House has named a pair of University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers and a recent alumnus to a list of the country's most promising researchers. Materials science and engineering professor Michael Arnold, chemistry professor Daniel Fredrickson, and UW–Madison graduate Samuel Zelinka — now a researcher at the USDA's Forest Products Laboratory in Madison — are among just 94 recipients of Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.
Written on August 15, 2011Societal Implications Group graduate student Ashley Anderson and co-authors won a best paper award at the 2011 Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference in St. Louis, Missouri for their paper The New Communication Environment and its Influence on Media Credibility. The paper also won a Top 3 Faculty Paper Award.
Written on April 04, 2011Using an advanced form of a rubber stamp, researchers have developed a way to adhere an ultra-thin antibacterial coating to a wound.
The active ingredient, silver, "has been used to prevent and treat infections for ages," says first author Ankit Agarwal, a postdoctoral fellow in chemical and biological engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "But silver can also kill skin cells, and therefore we need to develop materials that deliver antibacterial but nontoxic levels of silver to wounds."In a study just published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, Agarwal, chemical and biological engineering professor Nicholas Abbott, and colleagues described a process for creating a transparent ultra-thin polymer coating carrying precise loads of extremely fine silver nanoparticles.
The coating, just a few molecules thick, was assembled on a flexible piece of rubber and then rubber-stamped onto a piece of cadaver skin that simulated a wound in the experiment.
To test the activity against bacteria, the researchers treated skin samples with two bacteria that commonly infect wounds. Using a silver dosage that had not harmed skin cells in previous tests, the bacteria were undetectable within 12 hours, Agarwal says.
Written on February 11, 2011
Juan de Pablo has received the 2011 Oersted Lectureship Award from Denmark's Technical University. He is the 17th recipient of this award, which commemorates the accomplishments of Hans Christian Oersted, who discovered electromagnetism and was the founder of the Technical University of Denmark. Previous recipients of the Oersted Award include Nobel Laureates Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Ivar Giaever, Harold Kroto, and Ahmed Zewail.
Juan has also been selected to deliver the 2011 Julian C. Smith Memorial lectures in chemical engineering at Cornell University. The Smith lectures were initiated in 1988 and provide unique forum for recognizing outstanding contributions to research in engineering science. Juan will deliver two lectures entitled “Dimension Dependent Properties at the Nanoscale, and the Need for Alternative Nanofabrication Strategies” and “Directed Assembly and its Use in Genomics and Sensor Development” on April 18-19.
Written on January 12, 2011
Professor Nick Abbott has been elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Selection as a AAAS fellow is a high honor conferred by peers in recognition of distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications. AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society. The tradition of naming AAAS fellows in honor of their achievements dates to 1874. New fellows will be recognized at the Fellows Forum, held during the annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19.
Nick was recognized for the transformative engineering and analysis of biotic-abiotic interfaces, including the imaginative use of liquid crystalline materials to report on the interactions of biomolecules.
Written on November 17, 2010
Graduate student Pete Ladwig of the NSEC Societal Implications group recently won Honorable Mention in the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research (MAPOR) Fellows Student Paper Competition.Ladwig's paper examined differences in knowledge between science topics that carry a religious or moral component and those that do not, as measured by true/false knowledge items in surveys. Ladwig will be presenting his findings at MAPOR’s annual conference held in Chicago, IL on November 19, 2010.
Written on September 01, 2010
Milton J. and A. Maude Shoemaker Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering Paul Nealey has earned an award for his contributions to the understanding of the nanoscopic properties and patterning of polymeric materials in ways that enable future generations of microelectronics, photonics and biotechnologies. Nealey will receive the 2010 Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and deliver a plenary lecture November 8 at the AIChE meeting in Salt Lake City.
Written on July 15, 2010
Dietram Scheufele, professor of life sciences communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the winner of the 2010 Krieghbaum Under-40 Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
The award, named for former New York University professor Hillier Krieghbaum, goes to young association members for achievement in teaching, research and public service, which Scheufele considers a tidy description of the Wisconsin Idea.
"Service to society at large is important to us at Wisconsin and important to my work, which actually often cites Krieghbaum," Scheufele says. "Krieghbaum was dealing with some of the same issues we're dealing with today. How to we build bridges between society and the science we're doing at universities today?"
Written on June 03, 2010
With funding from the National Science Foundation, a University of Wisconsin-Madison engineer will study whether "drag-reducing" polymer molecules enhance flow through some of the tiniest blood vessels in the human body. Smaller than the diameter of a human hair, capillaries are embedded within the body's organs and are important for distributing blood throughout the tissues. "One of the issues is making sure that, under situations where there's a disease or injury, blood is still able to get to where it needs to be," says Michael Graham, Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UW-Madison.
Written on May 31, 2010
Genetic abnormalities are most often discussed in terms of differences so miniscule they are actually called "snips" — changes in a single unit along the 3 billion that make up the entire string of human DNA.
"There's a whole world beyond SNPs — single nucleotide polymorphisms — and we've stepped into that world," says Brian Teague, a doctoral student in genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "There are much bigger changes in there."
Variation on the order of thousands to hundreds of thousands of DNA's smallest pieces — large swaths varying in length or location or even showing up in reverse order — appeared 4,205 times in a comparison of DNA from just four people, according to a study published May 31 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Those structural differences popped into clear view through computer analysis of more than 500 linear feet of DNA molecules analyzed by the powerful genome mapping system developed over nearly two decades by David C. Schwartz, professor of chemistry and genetics at UW-Madison.
Written on May 20, 2010
By adding a subtle nudge to each of more than 1 billion search requests every day, Google may be steering the direction of public discussion. Begin typing a word in the search box at google.com, and the Google Suggest feature starts kicking in ideas - "tiger" begets "tiger woods," "tea" draws "tea party movement" and "craig" will summon "craigslist." "It is meant to be helpful, but from a public discourse perspective it is worrisome," says Dominique Brossard, a University of Wisconsin-Madison life science communication professor. Brossard and four colleagues studied Google''s data for nanotechnology-related search terms and the associated Google suggestions from October 2008 to September 2009. In a study published in the May issue of Materials Today, the researchers found a reversal in the top 10 nano search terms, with economic impact (word such as "stocks," "jobs" and "companies") searches giving way to health ("medicine" and "cancer") searches over the course of a year.
Written on April 22, 2010
Scientists have no problem making a menagerie of nanometer-sized objects — wires, tubes, belts, and even tree-like structures. What they sometimes have been unable to do is explain precisely how those objects form in the vapor and liquid cauldrons in which they are made.
Now a team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison chemist Song Jin, writing this week (April 23, 2010) in the journal Science, shows that a simple crystal defect known as a "screw dislocation" drives the growth of hollow zinc oxide nanotubes just a few millionths of a centimeter thick.
The finding is important because it provides new insight into the processes that guide the formation of the smallest manufactured structures, a significant challenge in nanoscience and nanotechnology. "We think that this work provides a general theoretical framework for controlling nanowire or nanotube growth without using metal catalysts that can be generally applicable to many materials," says Jin, a UW-Madison professor of chemistry.
Written on April 05, 2010
In four years at UW-Madison, Mahesh Mahanthappa, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, “has rapidly distinguished himself as the outstanding young teacher in our department,” writes nominator Robert Hamers, chair of the Department of Chemistry. In the fall of 2007, Mahanthappa received the highest evaluation score of any faculty or staff member in any undergraduate course, and he has continued that excellence since.
“Professor Mahanthappa’s ability to communicate is the first step in his magic as a teacher, because in captivating a room of 250 freshmen by talking about chemistry, he sets the stage to teach meaningfully and to inspire students in a way rarely accomplished,” writes student Lauren Buckley. “All professors know the material they teach and most find it fascinating, but Professor Mahanthappa’s ability to share both his knowledge and excitement is a defining factor of his effectiveness as a teacher. He showed you that if you knew the concepts and were immersed in the language of chemistry, you would eventually learn it like you do any foreign language.”