A virtual United Nations working with scientists throughout the world to find the latest innovation in nanotechnology can be found on the first floor of UALR’s Engineering Technology and Applied Science building where the Nanotechnology Center is housed.
Chief scientist Dr. Alex Biris is a native of Romania, while instrumentation specialist Fumiya Watanabe is from Japan. Students and researchers at all levels and from all over the world pursue their scientific dreams in UALR’s halls by intermingling with American colleagues and enriching the cultural diversity of the campus.
Through the Affiliate Scientist Program of the Nanotechnology Center at UALR, researchers from Romania, France, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan; scientists in Louisiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Florida, and North Carolina; and 28 Arkansas scientists — 45 researchers in all — connect with each other and strive to find answers to important questions.
“These scientists perform such diverse research,” said Glediana Rexha, a native Albanian who coordinates the program. “The scientific community is a big fraternity where scientists exchange ideas, pose questions, and find answers through mutual collaboration. So it is quite natural for scientists to reach out to each other to cover areas of knowledge that they are not familiar with.”
The state of Arkansas has invested several millions of dollars in the purchase of the instrumentation and establishment of the human infrastructure of the Nanotechnology Center. This instrumentation is available for cooperative research, but also to reach out and aid industry in their research and development efforts and product development needs. In addition to the on-site research, Biris said the group is working to create a “virtual highway for research” and offer access to the instrumentation online.
“Through the help of the state we have made available a world class pool of instrumentation” Biris said, “and we’re making it available for researchers and educators all over the world so we can further advance the frontiers of science, but with a practical approach that benefits society.”