Governor Frank O'Bannon today joined
state and university leaders in breaking ground for Purdue University's
own version of a new "Silicon Valley" for nanotechnology in Indiana.
"Just as the Silicon Valley of California
has become synonymous with the development of silicon technology, we believe
the middle Wabash Valley of Indiana will become known as the birthplace
of nanotechnology," O'Bannon said.
O'Bannon said as the first facility in
the new Discovery Park at Purdue University, the Ultra-Performance Nanotechnology
Center signals exciting things for the high-tech future of Indiana. "The
center will be a cutting-edge national facility advancing the frontiers
of nanoscale research," O'Bannon predicted.
Nanotechnology is an engineering science
that attempts to create devices that are only a few nanometers - or a few
billionths of a meter - in size. Nanotechnology includes the investigation,
design and manipulation of materials on the atomic and molecular scale.
Scientists and researchers believe nanotechnology
can yield previously unheard of advances in many fields, including treating
human illness and disease. "Nano-robots," for example, could be created
and inserted into the human body to make measurements, dispense drugs and
act as neural prostheses. Other scientists are working on nano-experiments
that may result in robots smaller than the size of human bacteria being
built to repair cellular damage or to attack cancer cells.
"Nanotechnology is still in its infancy,
but it has the potential to affect the 21st century in much
the way antibiotics, transistors and plastics affected our society in the
20th century," O'Bannon said. "Indiana has the opportunity to
make nanotechnology a major component of our future economy."
"This new nanotechnology facility will
position Indiana to become a player in the 'Silicon Valley' of the future,"
said Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke, noting the state's
investment was crucial for the project.
"We were able to leverage state funding
of $5 million to attract another $46 million in private and federal dollars,"
Jischke said. "That's the kind of teamwork that gets things done."
The ULTEC at Purdue will focus on educating
students and training corporate scientists and engineers, thus creating
a local workforce that understands nanotechnology.
Housed on about 40 acres, the new Discovery
Park at Purdue will provide a working environment for interaction between
various academic, scientific and technological disciplines all centered
on the new Nanotechnology Center. Six types of laboratory spaces will be
created at the center.
The Nanotechnology Center is being funded
from a variety of sources, including a $30 million gift from Purdue alumnus
and trustee Michael Birck and his wife Katherine Birck; a $13 million gift
from Purdue alumnus Donald Scifres and his wife Carol Scifres; and a $5
million grant from the Build Indiana Fund. Additional federal support is
being sought as well.
O'Bannon praised Purdue for its continued
leadership in important research and science with national implications,
and thanked state and federal legislators for their support of the project.
Jischke added, "The Indiana General Assembly's
investment has paid off tenfold -- a tremendous return on investment. We
have many of our elected officials to thank for their foresight, especially
State Representative Pat Bauer, State Senator Bob Meeks, Governor O'Bannon,
U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, and U.S. Representatives Brian Kerns and Steve
Reporters' contact: Mary Dieter or
Andrew Stoner, 317-232-4578