Nanotechnology’s Attraction, Demographics, and Individual Career Commitment

April 2, 2022

“There’s plenty of room at the bottom,” the often-quoted statement by Nobel laureate Dr. Richard P. Feynman. In 1959, Dr. Feynman forwarded the idea of placing the twenty-four volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica in its entirety on the head of a pin. Dr. Feynman’s brainchild eventually led to better electron microscopes, miniaturized electronics, and advances in biology; it is considered the first atomic-level engineering lecture. “On the Basic Concept of ‘Nanotechnology’” was a paper presented in 1974 by Professor Norio Taniguchi of the Tokyo Science University, using the term nanotechnology for the first time at the Japan Society of Precision Engineering. The discipline’s unique selling point is its interdisciplinarity. Because the STEM disciplines have a long history, there is more information for potential students to know if that is “their” fit or interest area and close relatives that may bias their career decisions. Such inquiry demands a unique approach in using the Mixed Methods Research protocol. At the preliminary stage of inquiry, this study’s purpose is four-fold: discern the influence, motivations, and experiences that lead individuals to commit to a career in nanotechnology, if those interests and motivations extend to specific demographics, learn what academicians perceive they are preparing a future nanotechnology-trained workforce for, and what the industry is aware of in contributions by a workforce trained in this field.

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