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RINTek to host nanotechnology conference, youth camp, and trek


By Kirsten Zoellner

Mon, May 28th, 2012
Posted in Rushford Features

Above is a bike map showing various distances based on difficulty. More information is available at www.southeastmn.edu/nanotech. Graphic provided

Rushford Institute for Nanotechnology (RINTek) dubs nanotechnology as “the most all-encompassing enabling technology of our time” and rightfully, so. According to data, the nanotechnology field is currently a $200 billion industry. That number is expected to skyrocket over a projected $1 trillion industry by 2015 based on predictions from the National Science Foundation.

In the United States and worldwide, it’s expected that all industries will in some way be affected by nanotechnology. According to the Foresight Institute, current progress in chemistry, physics, materials science, and biotechnology have been used to create novel materials that have unique properties.

“Some of these materials have already found their ways into consumer products, such as sun screens and stain-resistant pants. Others are being intensively researched for solutions to humanity’s greatest problems; diseases, clean energy, and clean water.” These changes, whether large or small, will at some point impact each one of our lives, if they haven’t already.

For more than a decade, RINTek has played an active role in nanotechnology, especially to rural America. Their purpose continues to bring this exciting technology to the forefront and, in addition, is bringing more attention to Rushford, as it seeks to make the community Minnesota’s nanotechnology center.

Saturday, June 9, RINTek will continue to champion the nanotechnology surge by hosting its 3rd annual nanotechnology conference and bicycle trek, along with a new youth nano camp. The conference begins with an opening by Deb Newberry, director of the Nanoscience Technology Program at Dakota County Technical College and a member of the NanoProfessor Nanoscience Education Advisory Board. Various breakout sessions will be held for business, education, and workforce development. Visitors to the free conference will also be able to preview Southeast Technical College’s new introductory nanotechnology course, as well as perusing Atomic Force Microscope AFM and other nano-related demonstrations. Walk-ins are welcome from 1 until 4:30.

New to this year’s events is a free youth nanotechnology camp. It is organized by Winona Workforce (Department of Employment and Economic Development) and a Nano Conference planned by Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical. Designed for ages 14 to 21, participants will learn how the industry is directly affecting our daily lives and partake in hands-on activities which will showcase the technology. A box lunch will be provided for registered participants.

The popular bicycle trek, which features routes through the surrounding bluff lands, is open to all and includes four challenging routes of various degrees, as well as a pleasure route for families, which runs along the fully-paved Root River State Bike trail in Rushford. The trek begins at 7am and runs until noon. The entrance fee for cyclists aged 15 and over is $25 each, ages 10-14 $10, and free for ages under 10.

Those interested in participating may register at www.rintek.org. For more information, contact Alice Zimmer, Southeast Technical at azimmer@southeastmn.edu or 507-453-2723, or Joyce Iverson, RINTek at trek@rintek.org or 507-421-1885 / 507-864-7698. Registration is available through June 9.

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