The Next Science Revolution

By Allison Norlian

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - What is nanotechnology? To some, it sounds like something out of Star Trek, or a term used in the 1970's hit, Mork and Mindy, akin to "Nanu-Nanu!"

The term could probably be used in both of these contexts, but in reality it is the next revolution of science and Notre Dame High School in Utica has already jumped on the bandwagon to implement the teaching of it into their curriculum as a senior elective.

Nanotechnology is an emerging field that manipulates matter at the atomic and molecular level. Nanotech classes at the catholic high school in Utica offer students a little bit of science, engineering and go over biology, chemistry and physics on a smaller scale, a nanoscale.

The nanotech teachers were taught over a three year period about the content they would soon be teaching themselves.

Kevin Morrisroe, the chairperson of Notre Dame's Math Department and a nanotechnology teacher at the high school, says scientists are doing incredible research right now using nanotechnology to help target cancer, specifically cancers that metastasize.

"With nanotechnology, you can attach little gold particles, nano-sized gold particles, and follow where the particles go and see where something from the liver has transferred to the lung and causes lung cancer or disease or something like that," Morrisroe said.

Morrisroe believes if this elective catches on, it could be integrated into the entire curriculum and be picked up by the middle and elementary schools in the area.

Nanotechnology has the potential to allow people with glasses to not only see better but to see telescopically and microscopically.

"They are hypothesizing through the use of nanotechnology that we can change our ability to see, so our eyes are not just seeing in macro, but will see telescopic," Morrisroe said, adding, "So clear as if we were staring in a telescope or microscopic. Our eyes can see things we'd need a microscope for now."

Morrisroe, along with Sarah Sorge, a science teacher at the high school, worked with the Utica City School District under a grant to develop the course of study.

Currently, Notre Dame offers this course as an elective but the hope is for it to become part of the curriculum for the high school, along with the towns middle and elementary schools.

The overarching goal is to get more teens to major in this revolutionizing field where they could not only get snatched up for a job after obtaining their associates degree but could make $75,000 a year starting out.

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