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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Current and Future Trends in Nanotechnology the topic of next URI Honors Colloquium lecture, Oct. 18

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

KINGSTON, R.I. - October 7, 2011 – Jason R. Dwyer, a nanotechnologist and professor of chemistry at the University of Rhode Island, is the next speaker at the University of Rhode Island's 2011 Honor's Colloquium on future technologies.

His lecture, “Current and Future Trends in Nanotechnology,” takes place Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium on the Kingston campus. It is free and open to the public.

Dwyer’s lecture will examine the wide range of applications of nanotechnology – the building of machines on the scale of atoms and molecules – from medicine and energy consumption to the food industry and everyday household uses. For example, experts are developing nano-devices to diagnose disease, to engineer tissue, and to deliver drugs in a manner that reduces the amount, cost, and the pain associated with taking certain medications. One researcher has even invented a robot that is small enough to fit into a syringe.

The lecture will include a live demonstration as Dwyer discusses where the field of nanotechnology will be going in the next 10 to 20 years. Robot arms, motors and computers that are invisible to the naked eye are only some of the possibilities.

Dwyer leads a URI research team working at the nexus of chemistry, physics and biology, believing that a molecular-level understanding of nature can lead to practical advances in technology. He is developing nanofabricated tools to more deeply explore the molecular world and create inexpensive, high performance medical diagnostic devices.

Dwyer's research has been featured in top scientific journals such as Science and Nature and in the Discovery Channel documentary Bullet Time. He has also designed and built the first “molecular movie camera,” which he later used to reveal biological processes such as the interaction between water molecules and the DNA double helix.

The rest of the speakers in the lecture series are: URI Professor Chris Roman, hurricane researcher Joseph Cione, and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute chief technologist James Bellingham on robotics use in the atmosphere and ocean (Oct. 25); biological engineer and brain and cognitive scientist Ed Boyden on enhancing the brain -- past, present and future (Nov. 1); cognitive scientist Deb Roy and media researcher Johanna Blakley in a panel on social media (Nov. 8); cybersecurity expert Richard Clarke on cyberwarfare (Nov. 15); and Laurie Zoloth, director of the Center for Bioethics, Science and Society, on ethics and genetics (Nov. 29).

All of the lectures will be streamed live at www.uri.edu/hc, where the complete schedule of events is also listed. For additional information about the URI Honors Colloquium, contact Deborah Gardiner at debg@uri.edu or 401-874-2382.

Major sponsors of the Honors Colloquium are the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation, the URI Honors Program, and the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, with sustaining sponsors including The Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment and the URI Office of the Provost and Office of the President. Additional support is provided by URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering, Classroom Media Services, College of the Environment and Life Sciences, College of Human Science and Services, College of Business Administration, College of Pharmacy, Office of the Vice President for Administration and Finance, University College, Coastal Institute, Division of University Advancement, College of Nursing and Department of Communication Studies.