diversity (11)

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A graduate student gains hands-on experience with state-of-the-art nanotechnology equipment in the Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization Teaching Cleanroom.

CREDIT
Penn State

 

Topics: African Americans, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Existentialism, Nanotechnology, STEAM

Related: Be Thankful for What You Got, William DeVaughn, Genius Lyrics


Note: When this post appears, I will be in a midterm in Solid State Devices. I purposely did not post yesterday to let the tribute to Ms. Katherine Johnson Tuesday be an appropriate and respectful dénouement. After Friday seminar, I will take a needed spring break.

Nanotechnology is STEM at the 10-9 meter scale: a nanometer. To advance any understanding at that level, there has to be a respect for objective truth:

A proposition is considered to have objective truth when its truth conditions are met without bias caused by a sentient subject. Scientific objectivity refers to the ability to judge without partiality or external influence, sometimes used synonymous with neutrality. Wikipedia

After Watergate, a political party created its own echo chamber in print, radio, television and the Internet that now confuses objective versus subjective truth, i.e. that which matters in ones own opinion is therefore defended as "fact." We're daily inundated with the solipsistic subjective truth of a pathological liar, which that in and of itself is an area of mental illness as democracy is not a matter of "opinion," but a debate over a shared view of facts and what if anything will be done to ameliorate any problem put forwards. Ostrich politics doesn't even work for ostriches: like most foul, their not burying their heads in sand, they eat it and gravel to aid with their digestion.

Raking and mopping will not address climate change; neither will denying the spreading of the coronavirus in the west. It doesn't help that funding for the CDC and HHS were cut, and a lot of government agencies designed to fight pandemics either shuttered, unfunded or both. Forgive me if I'm dubious that the party whose senator brings a snowball to the well of the senate to disprove climate change won't eventually cut what we could innovate in nanotechnology, particularly expanding it to underrepresented groups to participate. They wouldn't see the value it gives to all Americans because they are just that myopic.

November 3, 2020 might as well be Judgment Day, when we either right this ship of state from the impact of ignoramuses and "alternative facts," or this dark momentum will edge us over the precipice into dystopia. Once America falls - and I'm sure her enemies know this - all other democracies around the world and civilization, is in peril.

Like the right wing truckers with smokestacks to "own the libs": we all have to live on the same planet: cooperation, or extinction.

 

*****


New Louis Stokes Regional Center of Excellence created with National Science Foundation funding

Traditionally, minority students have been underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs -- and in the STEM marketplace. And as the U.S. innovation economy continues to grow, there comes an increasing requirement for skilled STEM workers to maintain the nation's status as a global leader. However, a significant challenge for workforce diversity exists because of limited access to underrepresented populations to quality STEM education and opportunities for STEM employment.

To try and overcome this challenge and ensure national competitiveness and sustained STEM global leadership, the Penn State Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization (CNEU), along with Norfolk State University (NSU) and Tidewater Community College (TCC), will form the Southeastern Coalition for Engagement and Exchange in Nanotechnology Education (SCENE) Louis Stokes Regional Center of Excellence in Broadening Participation. A total of $1.2 million in funding for this center was recently awarded by the National Science Foundation.

SCENE will focus on increasing recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority (URM) undergraduate and graduate students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and at community colleges with minority and underrepresented student enrollments. Recruitment efforts will be aimed at students studying STEM through nanoscience and nanotechnology education and engagement.
 

 

Nanotechnology center to help broaden participation of minorities in STEM fields
6 December 2018, Penn State


SO let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

We Rise and Fall as ONE Nation, November 5, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama, New York Post

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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A Beautiful Life...

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NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson (second left) is honored onstage with actors (left to right) Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer - the stars of "Hidden Figures," which focuses on Johnson's work with NASA's Mercury program - during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle is seen standing behind Johnson
(Image: © Kevin Winter/Getty Images) Space.com

Topics: African Americans, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology, NASA, Women in Science


Despite segregation, setbacks and Jim Crow, Katherine Johnson is one of the many "shoulders of giants" we stand upon.

As alluded to yesterday, nanotechnology is multifaceted: molecular biology, materials science, electrical and mechanical engineering, chemistry and physics. Her specific area was applied mathematics and computer science, without which no data could be analysed post an experiment.

That's what women were called back then: computers. Computer mainframes were just beginning development, the transistor - discovered by William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain - was exploited to reduce payload by the nascent NASA to win the space race against the Russians who launched Sputnik. The spin off from that effort was codified in Moore's law that has given us everything from flash drives to smart phones. The foundation of all this is mathematics - paper, pencil, chalk or dry erase board. The answer sometimes has to be wrestled with and ground out. From the calculus step, one typically encounters an impressive breadth of algebra to wade through.

I particularly thought of Ms. Johnson on a MATLAB (matrix laboratory) assignment coding the Euler equation. Though daunting, my code successfully executed what I asked of it. I did it in the 21st century, where I did not have the indignity of bathrooms designated based on my skin color or gender. I have you, my sister and many other giants to thank for that.

The two things I can say that are most appropriate and respectful to Ms. Johnson's family in this time of their loss:

Thank you.
Godspeed.


HAMPTON, Va. (AP) — NASA says Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who worked on NASA’s early space missions and was portrayed in the film Hidden Figures, about pioneering black female aerospace workers, has died.

In a Monday morning tweet, the space agency said it celebrates her 101 years of life and her legacy of excellence and breaking down racial and social barriers.

 

Pioneering NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson of ‘Hidden Figures’ fame has died at 101
The Associated Press on TheGrio.com

#P4TC links:

Admiration and Gratitude...August 27, 2018
Modern Figures 28 February 2017...February 28, 2017
Katherine Johnson...February 2, 2018
Euler's Method...January 17, 2017
Hidden Figures...January 6, 2017

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Article 1 Section 8 | Clause 8...

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Image Source: Omni Nano - The challenge of defining nanotechnology to a broad audience


Topics: African Americans, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology


Article I Section 8 | Clause 8 – Patent and Copyright Clause of the Constitution. [The Congress shall have power] “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”

 

Stanford University Libraries: Fair Use/US Constitution


This is the least-mentioned clause in The Constitution. We tend to get in a twist over the First and Second Amendments (likely not because of the importance of every amendment, but that these are the first two, and most discussed popularly).

About the NNI

Welcome to the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) website. The NNI is a U.S. Government research and development (R&D) initiative involving 20 departments and independent agencies working together toward the shared vision of "a future in which the ability to understand and control matter at the nanoscale leads to a revolution in technology and industry that benefits society." The NNI brings together the expertise needed to advance this broad and complex field—creating a framework for shared goals, priorities, and strategies that helps each participating Federal agency leverage the resources of all participating agencies. With the support of the NNI, nanotechnology R&D is taking place in academic, government, and industry laboratories across the United States.

 

NANO.gov: About the NNI


What is the NNI?

The NNI is a U.S. Government research and development (R&D) initiative involving the nanotechnology-related activities of 20 departments and independent agencies. The United States set the pace for nanotechnology innovation worldwide with the advent of the NNI in 2000. The NNI today consists of the individual and cooperative nanotechnology-related activities of Federal agencies with a range of research and regulatory roles and responsibilities. Funding support for nanotechnology R&D stems directly from NNI member agencies. As an interagency effort, the NNI informs and influences the Federal budget and planning processes through its member agencies and through the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). The NNI brings together the expertise needed to advance this broad and complex field—creating a framework for shared goals, priorities, and strategies that helps each participating Federal agency leverage the resources of all participating agencies. With the support of the NNI, nanotechnology R&D is taking place in academic, government, and industry laboratories across the United States.

 

NANO.gov: What is the NNI?


"To promote the progress of science and useful arts,"...

This shouldn't be left up to interpretation, but science and useful arts is an instructive turn of phrase.

Useful art, or useful arts or techniques, is concerned with the skills and methods of practical subjects such as manufacture and craftsmanship. The phrase has now gone out of fashion, but it was used during the Victorian era and earlier as an antonym to the performing art and the fine art. Wikipedia/Useful_art

Creationism/Intelligent Design/Flat and Young Earth enthusiasts are not advocating science: they're  pseudoscience. Like eugenics, it is the counter authoritarianism gives when it feels threatened. If some of its proponents have patents, I am not aware, but if they possess them, they adhered to STEM disciplines, not poppycock.

The United States has an undistinguished history built on the foundations of land theft from First Nation Peoples (so-called Indians by Columbus) and involuntarily enslaved Africans of the Diaspora.

This however is the invention clause that awards patents for creative ideas, documenting its originator, how the invention is used and ownership. Inventions create commerce, jobs and most importantly: wealth.

The website Interesting Engineering: The A-Z List of Black Inventors is probably not an all-encompassing list, numbering 248. However, it should be a guide to how and where African Americans have contributed through their inventiveness to society and this nation. Cautionary at casual observance, it suggests the problems of the community is merely a matter of chutzpah and bootstraps.

Although Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel is credited with inventing Jack Daniel’s in the 19th century, the company revealed last year that Daniel learned the trade of whiskey making from a slave named Nathan “Uncle Nearest” Green. (Green’s nickname is often incorrectly misspelled as “Nearis.”) Daniel then went on to open the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey distillery in 1875, where Green worked as the master distiller until at least 1881.

New York Times best-selling author Fawn Weaver says she discovered the story of Green from an article published by The New York Times that moved her to dig more into his history. That’s when she learned that Green was not the only African American involved in the process of distilling Jack Daniel’s whiskey. In fact, generations of Green’s descendants worked together with the Daniel family to make the iconic whiskey decades later. Some of Green’s offspring still work in the whiskey industry today.

 

THE SLAVE BEHIND JACK DANIEL’S WHISKEY RECIPE TO RECEIVE NEW HONOR
Selena Hill, Black Enterprise, July 28, 2017


This issue has always been fair use, and fairness.

What impact would fairness have had on the Green family with complete patent control of what has now become an American icon?

According the Center for American Progress in an article written by Angela Hanks, Danyelle Solomon, and Christian E. Weller in 2018, the median wealth of black and white in America will not come to equivalency for 200 years. That is a byproduct not of preponderance of Melanin or assigned depravity: it was government policy, hubris and ignorance on the Greens' part as to what rights they had to their invention.

..."by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."

Whatever creativity, inventive ideas we contribute in macro, micro or nano spaces, may we be treated fairly; allowing us the fair use of "science and useful arts" towards the benefit of mankind, our progeny and posterity. Such may narrow the 200 years predicted, the equivalent of starting a 100 meter dash in leg irons.
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Ginai Seabron...

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Ginai Seabron smiles as she exits the Biocomplexity Institute at Steger Hall after the nanoscience graduation ceremony, held the afternoon of May 11.

 

Topics: Diversity, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology, Women in Science


On May 11, (2018) Ginai Seabron became the first African-American woman to earn a B.S. in nanoscience from the College of Science at Virginia Tech.

As one of only 20 graduating seniors in the nanoscience major, which is part of the college's Academy of Integrated Science, Seabron accepted her degree at the Biocomplexity Institute in Steger Hall among shouts of support and cheers from her peers, friends, and family.

Social media has proven that more than just her personal connections are proud of her accomplishment.

“I didn’t expect it at all,” Seabron said of her post going viral. “It’s overwhelming, but I love it.”

Hours before commencement, Seabron spoke through tears as she reflected on her Virginia Tech experience.

“It is not easy at all being the only African-American in the room,” she said. “It’s intimidating.”

She chose not to give up, and in doing so inspired others to pursue the degree. “I’ve actually helped a few other people in my black community transfer into the nanoscience department.”

Her advice to future students comes from lessons she’s learned along the way.

“Continue to push,” she said. “Rely on your family and your friends. Reach out to your professors. Go to office hours. Create your own office hours if you have to. Be social. Step out of your comfort zone. Get to know the people in your class — they could become your study buddies. You’ll think you’re the only person struggling, but as it turns out, everybody’s struggling.”

 

Virginia Tech graduate becomes first African-American woman to earn degree in nanoscience

*****

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom's way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!

Langston Hughes, I Dream A World, All Poetry dot com

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Environmental Justice and ENPs...

 

Topics: African Americans, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Ecology, Environment, Nanotechnology


Abstract

The production and use of Engineered Nanoparticles (ENPs) or materials containing ENPs has increased astonishingly, leading to increased exposure to workers and consumers. The invention and applications of new materials either create new opportunities or pose new risks and uncertainties. The uncertainties concerning application of ENPs are posing disturbances to the ecosystem and human health. This review first addresses in vitro and in vivo studies conducted on the toxicity of ENPs to animals and humans. Ethical justifications are provided specially with reference to Intergenerational Justice (IRG-J) and Ecological Justice (EC-J). The social benefits and burdens of ENPs are identified for present and future generations. Some mitigation approaches for combating the potential risks posed by ENPs are proposed. Finally, suggestions for the safe handling of ENPs in future are proposed in the review.
 
*****

The term nanotechnology refers to the science of investigating and manipulating materials at atomic, molecular and macromolecular scale. (Sudarenko, 2013). Nanoparticles (NPs) are known to occur naturally (e.g., volcanic ash and forest fires), accidentally (i.e., unintended human activities) and anthropogenic (e.g., cosmetics and other consumer products). Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) or engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) are man made materials produced deliberately for different industrial applications and most commonly having dimension from 1 to 100 nm (Auffan et al., 2009). It is widely acknowledged in the scientific community that ENPs have enormous potential to transform industrial processes in the future thereby shaping how the society and the global economy will function. They have several industrial and domestic applications in consumer products, cosmetics, agriculture, soil and groundwater remediation, electronics, energy storage, biomedical and transportation (Besha et al., 2018; Boldrin et al., 2014).

Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) or engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) are man made materials produced deliberately for different industrial applications and most commonly having dimension from 1 to 100 nm (Auffan et al., 2009). It is widely acknowledged in the scientific community that ENPs have enormous potential to transform industrial processes in the future thereby shaping how the society and the global economy will function. They have several industrial and domestic applications in consumer products, cosmetics, agriculture, soil and groundwater remediation, electronics, energy storage, biomedical and transportation (Besha et al., 2018; Boldrin et al., 2014).

 

Sustainability and environmental ethics for the application of engineered nanoparticles
Abreham Tesfaye Beshaa, Yanju Liubc, Dawit N. Bekelebc, Zhaomin Dongd, Ravi Naidubc, Gebru Neda Gebremariama

*****


“Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east.” Marvin Gaye wasn’t an environmental scientist, but his 1971 single “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” provides a stark and useful environmental analysis, complete with warnings of overcrowding and climate change. The song doesn’t explicitly mention race, but its place in Gaye’s What’s Going On album portrays a black Vietnam veteran, coming back to his segregated community and envisioning the hell that people endure.

Gaye’s prophecies relied on the qualitative data of storytelling—of long-circulated anecdotes and warnings within black communities of bad air and water, poison, and cancer. But those warnings have been buttressed by study after study indicating that people of color face disproportionate risks from pollution, and that polluting industries are often located in the middle of their communities.

Late last week, even as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Trump administration continued a plan to dismantle many of the institutions built to address those disproportionate risks, researchers embedded in the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment released a study indicating that people of color are much more likely to live near polluters and breathe polluted air. Specifically, the study finds that people in poverty are exposed to more fine particulate matter than people living above poverty. According to the study’s authors, “results at national, state, and county scales all indicate that non-Whites tend to be burdened disproportionately to Whites.”

 

Trump's EPA Concludes Environmental Racism Is Real
A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency finds that people of color are much more likely to live near polluters and breathe polluted air—even as the agency seeks to roll back regulations on pollution.
Vann R. Newkirk, The Atlantic

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Nanotech and Business...

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Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering: Facebook

 

Topics: African Americans, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Economics, Nanotechnology


Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) should pursue research in the nanotech sector. Other universities are leveraging significant funding to lead the way in nanotechnology research. For instance, the Institute for Nanotechnology was established as an umbrella organization for the multi-million dollar nanotechnology research efforts at Northwestern University. The role of the Institute is to support meaningful efforts in nanotechnology, house state-of-the-art nanomaterials characterization facilities, and support individual and group efforts aimed at addressing and solving key problems in nanotechnology.As part of this effort, a $34 million, 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art Center for Nanofabrication and Molecular Self-Assembly was constructed on the Evanston, Illinois campus. The new facility, which was anchored by a $14 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, is one of the first federally funded facilities of its kind in the United States and home to the Institute headquarters.

Since you asked...

The Nano School

Nanotechnology is often referred to as convergent technology because it utilizes knowledge from a diverse array of disciplines including biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, and technology. JSNN has six research focus areas—nanobioscience, nanometrology, nanomaterials (with special emphasis on nanocomposite materials), nanobioelectronics, nanoenergy, and computational nanotechnology.

Our Mission

The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) mission is to be a catalyst for breakthrough innovations that provides high-impact academic, industry and government research outcomes.

Our Vision

The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) is a collaboration between two high research universities: North Carolina A&T State University (NC A&T SU) and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Collaboration will always be a core part of JSNN’s DNA. JSNN will constantly seek out strategic collaborations with other academic institutions, industry and government organizations as a catalyst for continuing to produce research breakthroughs.

To achieve the mission, JSNN recruits students that are the best and brightest men and women from a variety of disciplines to conduct advanced research in Nanoengineering and Nanoscience. Students are challenged to choose a research area that is expected to provide significant benefit to mankind. Beyond becoming exceptional researchers, students will develop leadership and communication skills that will make them an exceptional asset in any academic, industry or government organization.

JSNN is also catalyst for economic development. The Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor (SENIC) was created as a partnership between Georgia Tech and JSNN, a collaboration of NC A&T and UNCG. SENIC combines the infrastructure strengths of both Georgia Tech and the JSNN to provide academic, industry and government users affordable access to one of the largest and most modern Nano-fabrication and Nano-characterization tool sets in the country.
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Proto Nanotechnologist...

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Professor George Washington Carver, Tuskegee University, History.com 


Topics: African Americans, Biology, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology


Part of being in nanotechnology is you get to exercise a bit of creativity and invention. Research is about looking into an area that people know something about, reading a LOT of papers and formulating your own ideas about an approach to a subject. You may either fail miserably at first, or successfully bring about something novel.

George Washington Carver I'm referring to as a proto nanotechnologist. Planting peanuts, soy and sweat potatoes replaced nitrogen other plants like cotton leached from the soil. Though this crop rotation method (introduced by Carver) gave the farmers high yields on the produce they were used to selling, it had the unintended consequence of giving them a surplus of produce for which, there had previously been no market. Carver would go on to invent 300 uses for the peanut, one of which, peanut butter he surprisingly DIDN'T, though I'm sure you've eaten unless you have allergies. If it weren't for him, the farmers in the south would have gone out of business due to a boll weevil infestation that decimated cotton throughout the south. It was a fortuitous confluence of events.

It is in this spirit and the month, I salute Professor George Washington Carver, and hopefully emulate him in my chosen field of making meaning of small things.

George Washington Carver was an agricultural scientist and inventor who developed hundreds of products using peanuts (though not peanut butter, as is often claimed), sweet potatoes and soybeans. Born an African American slave a year before slavery was outlawed, Carver left home at a young age to pursue education and would eventually earn a master’s degree in agricultural science from Iowa State University. He would go on to teach and conduct research at Tuskegee University for decades, and soon after his death his childhood home would be named a national monument — the first of its kind to honor an African American.

Born on a farm near Diamond, Missouri, the exact date of Carver’s birth is unknown, but it’s thought he was born in January or June of 1864.

Nine years prior, Moses Carver, a white farm owner, purchased George Carver’s mother Mary when she was 13 years old. The elder Carver reportedly was against slavery, but needed help with his 240-acre farm.

When Carver was an infant, he, his mother and his sister were kidnapped from the Carver farm by one of the bands of slave raiders that roamed Missouri during the Civil War era. They were sold in Kentucky.

Moses Carver hired a neighbor to retrieve them, but the neighbor only succeeded in finding George, whom he purchased by trading one of Moses’ finest horses. Carver grew up knowing little about his mother or his father, who had died in an accident before he was born.

 

George Washington Carver, Editors, History.com

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Nanotechnology and People...

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Image Source: Disruption Hub (link below)

 

Topics: African Americans, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Nanotechnology


In the 1950s, physicist Richard Feynman suggested that more could be learned about materials by reducing them to their smallest possible form. This idea laid the foundations for nanotechnology – the study of matter at an atomic or molecular level. Almost 70 years down the line, however, and the field is still in the developmental stages. Nonetheless, the disruptive potential of nanotechnology is so vast that it’s well worth being aware of the technology’s trajectory. The research area is now a broad umbrella term for numerous different branches and projects. But what does it mean for businesses, and what are the obstacles to adoption?

Any technological advance is a disruption. We get the term Luddites from essentially a backlash to economic conditions in England brought on by endless war with France:

The Luddite disturbances started in circumstances at least superficially similar to our own. British working families at the start of the 19th century were enduring economic upheaval and widespread unemployment. A seemingly endless war against Napoleon’s France had brought “the hard pinch of poverty,” wrote Yorkshire historian Frank Peel, to homes “where it had hitherto been a stranger.” Food was scarce and rapidly becoming more costly. Then, on March 11, 1811, in Nottingham, a textile manufacturing center, British troops broke up a crowd of protesters demanding more work and better wages.

That night, angry workers smashed textile machinery in a nearby village. Similar attacks occurred nightly at first, then sporadically, and then in waves, eventually spreading across a 70-mile swath of northern England from Loughborough in the south to Wakefield in the north. Fearing a national movement, the government soon positioned thousands of soldiers to defend factories. Parliament passed a measure to make machine-breaking a capital offense.

But the Luddites were neither as organized nor as dangerous as authorities believed. They set some factories on fire, but mainly they confined themselves to breaking machines. In truth, they inflicted less violence than they encountered. In one of the bloodiest incidents, in April 1812, some 2,000 protesters mobbed a mill near Manchester. The owner ordered his men to fire into the crowd, killing at least 3 and wounding 18. Soldiers killed at least 5 more the next day.

What the Luddites Really Fought Against, Richard Conniff, Smithsonian Magazine

The Internet is an example of technology causing displacement and disruption. The initial lament of the "Information Superhighway" was that communities of color would be cut out because of fiber optics and technological infrastructure. That is mostly true, particularly in rural areas, but the Caveat Emptor I posted about in 2016 is the technology is enabling higher income inequality, thereby frustrations that savvy demagogues take advantage of, without a thought of solving. Some have compensated with the supercomputers in their hip pockets known as smart phones, also a byproduct of nanotechnology.

So, what is nanotechnology? Since I've spent the last 2.5 years completing a Masters and Pursuing a Ph.D. in it, here's my layman's definition of it:

Nanotechnology is anything at the nanoscale, or at 10-9 = 0.000000001 meters. Strange things occur at this scale that would shock you. Gold for example is not yellow: it's blue at some frequencies. It is manipulation of matter at this scale, which is a broad term because it's not just electronics: it's atomic, biological, chemical, molecular and supramolecular engineering to create machines, mechanisms and systems that don't precisely follow macroscopic (where WE are) material rules. Nanoscience is observation and theory at that scale; Nanoengineering is using material specifically at that scale to practical ends.

Stating the above, it's not trivial. You find you have better talents; mine in physics and materials, for example. Some have a background in chemistry and find themselves struggling in computer programming, which they never had to concentrate on, or resources for a proper programming facility in their home countries were scarce. The need to look at it from several angles and be "jack of all trades" is taxing, in a personal admittance.

My observation is: there are a lot of people of color in it, they're just not from the United States. I have as I've stated, many friends from Bangladesh, Chad, China, Korea, India, Iran, Nigeria, Sri Lanka; Sudan I was one of four African Americans (ahem: and the oldest) in the 2017 entering class, there was one in the 2018 class and a married couple from Durham that commutes to Greensboro in the 2019 class. It's slim pickings.

I'm not a xenophobe, but the STEM curriculum in the U.S. at the moment if any introduction is made at all points all students from all cultural backgrounds to the standard science and engineering fields: biology, chemistry, physics; architectural engineering, biological engineering, chemical engineering, engineering physics, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.

So, I'm going to take the month to talk about nanotechnology and people of color, as any technological disruption can be a source of opportunity or another exacerbation of the income inequality we've endured since Plymouth Rock.

I hope it's an introduction to some, an inspiration for others and a continuation to a few already in the area working on the next new thing hopefully beneficial to mankind.

When most people hear the term 'nanotechnology,' they probably think 'microscopic robots' because that is what has been popularized in the movies and television. We're not there yet. Not even close. But there are exciting developments in this new frontier that have the potential to greatly increase human comfort and improve needed products.

Some nanotech products are available today in a number of interesting applications:

Bumpers on cars
Paints and coatings to protect against corrosion, scratches and radiation
Protective and glare-reducing coatings for eyeglasses and cars
Metal-cutting tools
Sunscreens and cosmetics
Longer-lasting tennis balls
Light-weight, stronger tennis rackets
Stain-free clothing and mattresses
Dental-bonding agent
Burn and wound dressings
Ink
Automobile catalytic converters.


Nanotechnology is the manipulation of very small things for practical uses. More specifically, nanotechnology is the science and technology of precisely controlling the structure of matter at the molecular level. Nanotech is widely viewed as the most significant technological frontier currently being explored.

How Will Nanotechnology Affect the African American Community?

Nanotech products will help everyone and could provide unique investment opportunities for African Americans. Some might ask, why does this have to be a racial issue? Historically, blacks have not been allowed to freely participate in free markets for centuries, so we are just a little behind in capitalist development activities (to put it mildly). So new technological frontiers offer potential avenues for blacks to get a foothold. We have yet to make our most incredible discoveries and freed African American imaginations freely participating in the marketplace could be invaluable in nanotechnology development. Already, more than 1,700 companies in 34 nations reportedly are pursuing the commercial promise of nanotechnology. Hopefully, big money investors such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Russell Simmons, Jay-Z and others will take a look at nanotechnology and support entrepreneurs in this area.

 

African American Environmentalist Association: Nanotechnology

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A 34th Anniversary...

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NASA portrait


Topics: African Americans, History, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Dr. Ronald McNair


I am the keynote speaker for the Ron McNair Memorial Luncheon at the Student Center, N.C. A&T State University (but I doubt I'll be eating much food). I've included the following in this post that will appear after my remarks:

1. A 25th Anniversary... January 28, 2011
2. My prepared remarks (with highlighted pauses) below.

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Fermilab and Wakandacon...

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Fermilab intern Tiffany Price connects with Dana Simone Stovall-Savage at Fermilab’s booth. Photo: Bailey Bedford

 

Topics: Afrofuturism, Black Panther, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Women in Science


In July, Fermilab joined Wakandacon in Chicago, the three-day Afro-futuristic celebration of the black experience, nerd culture and science. It was a perfect opportunity to present the public with a broader view of science and who can be a scientist.

Designed to be free from prejudice, Wakandacon included cosplay contests, video game contests, panels on topics such as writing fan fiction as an African American girl, a variety of vendors and more. It embraced the themes of the Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther” and ran with them.

At the event, members of the Fermilab community discussed the challenges of minorities working in science, promoted opportunities to engage with the lab, and shared scientific demonstrations — including liquid-nitrogen experiments and magnetic levitation. The diverse representatives of Fermilab encouraged attendees to contribute their skills and perspectives to the scientific community to build a more diverse, scientifically advanced future.

Embracing the event’s themes of diversity and advanced science, Mario Lucero, a diversity and inclusion specialist at Fermilab, moderated a panel of four other Fermilab scientists who are members of minority groups. The members recounted the obstacles that they experienced working in technical fields, how they came to find a place at Fermilab, and how they are working to improve Fermilab and the larger STEM community.

“It’s inspiring seeing so many black women and men in a field that historically has been underrepresented for us,” said Ayanna Jones, a chemistry doctoral student from the panel audience. “And for me it is inspiring because I think we all have similar stories and times where it got really hard.”

The speakers’ experiences included people assuming they were incompetent, accusing them of plagiarism without cause, speaking over them and making sexist, racist or micro-aggressive statements. The negative effects of these incidents and other aspects of their career were exacerbated by the lack of mentors to guide them in responding to the particular challenges they faced.

Fermilab scientist Jessica Esquivel shared how it felt to join Fermilab after being the second black woman to graduate from the Syracuse University physics doctoral program, where she often felt ostracized.

“It was a weight lifted off my shoulders. There was diversity,” Esquivel said. “And Fermilab as an institution really cares about equity, diversity and inclusion. And it wasn’t lip service. They value my input and value my work when it came to helping increase diversity in STEM.”

 

Fermilab promotes science and diversity at Wakandacon in Chicago
Bailey Bedford, Fermilab

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True Strength...

 

Topics: Diversity, Diversity in Science, STEM, Women in Science


"Diversity is our strength, unity is our power." Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

U.S. innovation has long drawn inspiration from a mix of scientific disciplines, academic institutions, research laboratories and industries, yet the scientific enterprise’s workforce lacks diversity of another sort, according to testimony before a House panel on May 9.

In remarks delivered to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Shirley Malcom, a senior adviser at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said the growing need for a workforce capable of delivering future innovations and meeting the world’s challenges will require “expanding the pool of talent, tapping into the vast well of women, minorities, racial and ethnic, and people with disabilities currently underrepresented in STEM,” the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The perspective delivered by Malcom, who also serves as director of AAAS’ STEM Equity Achievement or SEA Change initiative, were echoed by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, chairwoman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, as well as by each of the four other panelists who joined Malcom in addressing the committee.

“As the rest of the country becomes more diverse, the STEM workforce has been slow to respond,” said Johnson. “In addition, I have watched with dismay for decades as women have made too few gains in the STEM workforce.”

The "STEM Opportunities Act of 2019, a bill that would require more comprehensive demographic data to be collected on recipients of federal research awards and STEM faculty at universities to help identify and reduce barriers that prevent women and underrepresented groups from entering and advancing in STEM."
The caveat: the House bill will likely stall and die in the Senate if not outright vetoed by a recalcitrant, science-phobic administration basing its next reflexive move on what the previous black president favored. It is the insistence on being the center of the story forever; the hero of the plot. It allows a growing inequality based on zip codes, city funding, cultural maturity and opportunity. Most of the aforementioned zip codes will be urban, but a lot of them rural, currently undergoing an opioid crisis and economic opportunities excavated by bad trade policies. Their being over "colored others" is a warped and sadistic feel-good measure but not a solution - similar to the sentiments expressed with a "send her back" chant at a North Carolina Klan rally Wednesday. It is a de facto redlining scheme to keep the country gerrymandered on the status quo of visual differences reinforced by propagandized compulsory education with schlock creation science; entertainment options meant to numb us and media to reinforce our biases. It is not a path forward to a mythologized lost "greatness." It is proto fascism.
 
"You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise."
Representative Ilhan Omar quoting Dr. Maya Angelou on Twitter

It is an open invitation for China to take advantage of this blatant racism and ignorance, powering ahead of us to become the world's dominate superpower. Once our lofty perch among nations is lost, we will likely not recover it. We will be a byword, a proverb and in the inimitable words of our current juvenile chief executive "they are [and will likely be] laughing at us"; that throwaway line against his ardent foe that made him sad at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, prophetically projection.

 

Diverse STEM Workforce Needed to Preserve U.S. Competitiveness, Anne Q. Hoy
Office of Public Programs SEA Change
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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