Congratulations to our 2021 Image Contest Winners

SEM image of a mosquito stylet

A big thank you to everyone who submitted an image in the 2021 Image Competition. We are excited to announce the winners. Please vote for these amazing images in the NNCI Image Contest, There’s Plenty of Beauty at the Bottom. Voting ends October 15th!

Most Stunning

SEM image of pollen

Lungs of Nature
Hanna Varga, Duke University

The image depicts particles from a dust sample collected on the California coast. This pair of pollen grains reminded the researcher of lungs.

Most Whimsical

SEM image

Dinos Take the City
James Loveless, NC State University

This sample is Gallium nitride grown on sapphire at very high temperatures. Remarkably, this surface was intended to be flat! At these extreme conditions, the crystal growth is often three-dimensional, and we discovered a city-like landscape of thin crystalline microstructures. I thought the dust particles looked like monsters akin to Godzilla, so I added a helicopter to help protect the city.

Most Unique Capability

Our Cups Floweth Over
Greg Allion and Sravanthi Vallabhuneni, NC State University

Thick photo resist sculpted by utilizing light diffraction and image reversal. The visual beauty speaks for itself. Structures like these can be used to make super hydrophobic surfaces.

New Phosphorus Sustainability Center Engages NNCI Scientists

NSF recently announced the 2021 class of Science and Technology Centers. This cohort includes six new Centers focused on a range of topics from optoelectronics to ice exploration. One of these Centers is led by RTNN Director Jacob Jones. With collaborators at RTNN, SENIC, and NCI-SW, Jones established the Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center which aims to reduce phosphorus dependence and its downstream effects on the environment. The origin of STEPS can be traced back to a 2016 Nanotechnology Signature Initiative and a series of RTNN-supported events that seeded several collaborative projects including a GRIP Award focused on using nanotechnology for water sustainability. Find out more about STEPS on the Center website and NC State press release.

RTNN Welcomes Anne Njathi to PCOST

Headshot of Anne Njathi

The Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCOST) program has added Anne Njathi as acting assistant director of assessment. She will take over full-time in the spring from Ekaterina Bogomoletc. In May, Ekaterina will complete her dissertation, Friendly Science: The Effects of Social Presence and Conversational Human Voice on Publics’ Perceptions of Scientific Information and will begin as a full-time research data analyst at the North Carolina Partnership for Children. Analyzing various primary and secondary data on children’s well-being, Ekaterina will be contributing to the organization’s overall mission of advancing a high quality, comprehensive, accountable system of care and education for each child beginning with a healthy birth.

Anne Njathi is a doctoral student in Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media. She has over 8 years of multidisciplinary work experience in Mobile Phone & IT Industry, Renewable Energy, and Non-for Profit Organizations, Media & Advertising, and her research interest lies in digital media and mobile communication. She has notable expertise is in Marketing Communications, Brand Strategy, Digital Marketing, Communications Strategy, Business Development, Budgeting, Accounts Development in building sustainable brands. She is also an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Google Certified Digital Marketer.

She received her BA and MA in Public Relations and Corporate Communication from Daystar University, Kenya. She comes from Kenya with a passion for development studies for Africa, her research interest lies in Emerging Digital Economy, Emerging Technologies, Digital Media, Financial Inclusion and Mobile Communication.

PCOST also added two advanced undergraduate research assistants. Jongsue Cho and Ava Freyaldenhoven. Jongsue will work on research activities associated with the RTNN exclusively. Ave will work with Dr. Berube on multiple research and grant related ventures. Both women are undergraduate students completing their BS in Communication.

David Berube Reflects on 20 Years of Nanotech in Society

Headshot of David Berube

At the most recent NNCI seminar, RTNN’s David Berube joined Arizona State’s Andrew Maynard to discuss nanotechnology in society over the past twenty years. Their engaging discussion covered a range of topics. 

Abstract: In a major address at Caltech in 2000, President Bill Clinton unveiled the National Nanotechnology Initiative and proposed doubling the federal funding for nanoscale research in the United States. President Clinton gave the speech in front of a map of the Western hemisphere created out of gold atoms. Looking back at it he joked: ”I think you will find more enduring uses of nanotechnology.” Since that day the federal government has poured billions of dollars into nanoscale R&D and scientists and engineers have indeed found more enduring uses. Questions, concerns, and excitement about the social aspects and implications of nanotechnology have accompanied this effort every step of the way. This panel brings together two scholars who have played important roles in exploring nano in society over the past twenty years. They will reflect on the changes in the way that scholars, governments, corporations, and the general public engage with nanotechnology over the last two decades.

Watch the conversation:

RTNN Kickstarter Program Eligibility Expanded

A CHANL user loads a sample on the FTIR

Several recent reports describe how the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected and continues to affect academic research particularly for specific groups (e.g., women, international students, early career scientists). In response to this crisis, the RTNN is expanding eligibility in its Kickstarter program to include researchers that have been disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To submit proposals under the expanded criteria, complete and submit a Kickstarter application by the priority deadline: July 1, 2021. Proposals received after this date will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Questions about the program or eligibility requirements can be directed to