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Int. scientists sign up for Queenstown event

International scientists sign up for Queenstown event

The large number of international scientists who have registered for a Queenstown nanotechnology conference proves that New Zealand is being taken seriously by the global science community, according to Victoria University’s Professor Paul Callaghan.

About 300 experts in the fields of nanotechnology and advanced materials, including two Nobel laureates, will converge on Queenstown, from 6-11 February, to attend a conference organised by the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, hosted by Victoria University and the University of Canterbury. At least 200 delegates are from overseas.

Professor Callaghan, Director of the Institute, says it’s not just the New Zealand scenery that is drawing the experts to the conference.

“New Zealand science, in the areas of nanotechnology and materials science, is well-regarded internationally. This is partly due to the establishment of the MacDiarmid Institute that has lifted the profile of this genre of science tremendously in just a few years.

“We are able to lure international ‘bright sparks’ to the Institute and have acquired leading-edge equipment, including two electron microscopes and an electron beam lithography system. This means the research we are carrying out is pushing the same boundaries as our international colleagues – who are certainly interested in the advances we are making.”

The purpose of the Queenstown conference is to promote international collaborations in the broad areas of advanced materials and nanotechnology, with a particular emphasis on new and emerging technologies.

Technical symposia will include biomolecular assembly, conducting polymers, functional materials, nanoengineered materials and devices, nanolithography, nanoscale optics, nanotube growth and device concepts, novel semiconductor materials, the physics of clusters and cluster-based devices, and properties of superconducting materials.

Speakers of interest at the conference include:

Professor Klaus von Klitzing German physicist Professor Klaus von Klitzing was awarded the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery that under appropriate conditions the resistance offered by an electrical conductor varies by discrete steps rather than smoothly and continuously. His discovery enabled other scientists to study the conducting properties of electronic components with extraordinary precision. Since 1985, von Klitzing has been a director of the Max Planck Institute of Solid State Research in Stuttgart.

Professor Alan MacDiarmid Professor Alan MacDiarmid was awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize for Chemistry; shared with physicist Professor Alan Heeger and chemist Professor Hideki Shirakawa for the discovery and development of conductive organic polymers. In 2001 he was presented with the 2000 Rutherford Medal - New Zealand's highest science award. During the past 20 years he has been involved exclusively with conducting polymers, particularly the synthesis, chemistry, doping, electrochemistry, conductivity, magnetic and optical properties and processing of polyacetylene and polyaniline.

British scientist and mechanical engineer, Professor Ann Dowling, has spent her career working on projects involving aeroplanes, submarines, power stations and oil exploration. Much of her research is aimed at reducing the environmental impact of transport and power generation. She was also involved in what is arguably the most iconic engineering project of the twentieth century – Concorde. Professor Dowling is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Deputy Head of Cambridge University's Engineering Department. She has recently chaired a major study on nanotechnology and nanoscience, commissioned by the British Government. At the Queenstown conference she will lead a seminar on societal issues involved in nanotechnology. She was awarded a CBE for services to Mechanical Engineering in the Queen’s 2002 Birthday Honours List. As a keen pilot, Professor Dowling owns and flies a light aircraft.

Professor Joe DeSimone American chemist Professor Joe DeSimone pioneered research into ‘green chemistry’ – helping create a CO2 dry cleaning technology to replace the polluting chemical perchloroethylene. He has written more than 180 refereed articles and issued more than 70 patents. The New York Times has called him "a Wunderkind of chemical engineering." Professor DeSimone is the Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of North Carolina and Director of two major American research centres looking at environmentally responsible solvents, advanced materials, and nanotechnology. In 2002, he co-founded a company to develop and commercialise polymeric drug stents for cardiovascular applications.

Media are invited to attend AMN-2: Second International Conference on Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, 6-11 February 2005, in Queenstown.

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