EU Science and Research Commissioner
Janez Potocnik answered questions from children on
nanotechnology when he visited the nanoTruck in Brussels
on 15 June.
A German initiative, the nanoTruck is a mobile science theme park exhibiting
some of the latest science and technology at the nano dimension in a variety
of disciplines. Inside the truck are magnetic fluids, measuring instruments
that make atoms visible, and scratch-proof coatings for cars. The organisers
encourage visitors try out the exhibits themselves, making it an ideal place
to introduce the younger generation to the wonders of nanoscience and nanotechnology.
The children present unanimously agreed that a visit to the nanoTruck was preferable
to a classroom lesson!
Questions ranged from why nanotechnology is important, whether it can be studied
at university, and what the job prospects are for graduates of nanotechnology.
Mr Potocnik reassured the children that there will be no shortage of jobs for
those with knowledge of nanoscience and nanotechnology, due to the cutting
edge nature of these fields.
The children confessed that they had not heard of nanotechnology before being
invited to visit the nanoTruck, to which the Commissioner replied: 'Frankly,
before I took this job, it was the same for me! But in a few years you will
hear all about it because it is very promising.'
The nanoTruck is funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research.
The truck began its journey in 2004, and due to its phenomenal success will
now continue touring until the end of 2006. It is on the road for 240 days
per year, and typically visits around 100 locations. It is always accompanied
by PhD students from different disciplines so that all exhibits can be explained
to visitors. The truck received over 100,000 visitors in 2004.
For further information on the nanoTruck,