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2003 News Index

Yang to head new ACS Nanoscience Subdivision

from Chemical and Engineering News

In much of today's scientific research, small is king.

For the chemistry community, the recently established Nanoscience Subdivision of the Division of Inorganic Chemistry has created a new home for small-scale researchers. Although it is founded under inorganic auspices, its leaders hope to provide a forum for chemists in any specialty to discuss nano-related topics.

"Our intention is not to limit the scope to inorganic chemistry," says Peidong Yang, the first chair of the subdivision and an assistant professor of chemistry. Yang hopes to attract researchers working on--but not restricted to--the synthesis, characterization, and properties of both inorganic and organic structures, in addition to inorganic-organic hybrid materials.

T. Don Tilley, the division chair and a chemistry professor at Berkeley, was a driving force behind this effort. He saw it as a chance to increase the profile of nanoscience within the society, and to centralize research in a field that touches almost every scientific domain.

"Nanoscience by nature is very cross-disciplinary," Tilley says. "This subdivision is our attempt to nucleate something." In fact, the field crosses several borders within the various chemistry specialties. For example, carbon nanoscience is represented by a subdivision within ACS's Division of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry, and the Division of Colloid & Surface Chemistry hosts a continuing symposium on interfaces in nanotechnology.

Because the new subdivision seeks to set itself apart by avoiding categories, Tilley knew he needed someone as chair who was both well versed in general nano issues and energetic enough to propel a fledgling group forward. He therefore approached Yang.

"Peidong is one of the up-and-coming stars in the [nanoscience] area, and a lot of people agree he is an ideal chair," Tilley says. Yang's research group is making fundamental contributions to the synthesis of one-dimensional nanostructures, including their recent success growing single-crystal gallium nitride nanotubes for the first time using a novel technique (C&EN, April 14, page 35).

True to expectations, Yang is showing great enthusiasm for promoting the subdivision and increasing participation. Only months into his new role as chair, Yang has already created a website for the subdivision and begun organizing the first of what will be an annual nanoscience symposium at the upcoming spring ACS national meeting in Anaheim, Calif. He has also been working to attract more nanoscience presenters for the ACS national meeting in New York City in September.

Yang will chair the subdivision until the end of 2004, but his vision for its gsowth stretches far into the future. Nanoscience has myriad applications, and what may now be only a small part of a much larger whole could, he believes, evolve beyond its current host.

"This subdivision definitely has the potential to grow into a full-scale division," Yang says. "That's why we didn't set any boundaries."

Related sites:

ACS Inorganic Division

ACS Nanoscience Subdivision

Peidong Yang research group

T. Don Tilley research group

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