Skip to main content
Email Print Share

NNI Endorsements

If you are interested in endorsing this initiative, please contact M.C. Roco, e-mail:, Chair NSET, NSTC/WH


"The Semiconductor Industry Association endorses with enthusiasm the establishment of a National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). The semiconductor industry has advanced, and continues to advance at a rapid pace, according to Moore's Law, primarily through scaling, continually reducing the physical dimensions of the devices, and structures that make up the chip. This has led to tremendous growth in productivity in nearly all aspects of the economy, since semiconductors are the fundamental building block of information appliances, which enable us to communicate, calculate, and play. However, in time, the dimensions of the devices will approach the atomic scale, the natural province of nanotechnology. We consider basic research in this area crucially important to keep the economic engine moving forward. We will work with the Administration and Congress to assure that this important initiative comes into being."

-- George Scalise
Semiconductor Industry Association

"As we enter the third millennium, I can't imagine a more important technological initiative to undertake than the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The results forthcoming from such an initiative will transform our lives and transform the very concept of manufacturing in ways that it's hard to fathom at this moment in time. The bringing together of atoms and bits raises many provocative technological and scientific questions. I believe that such a long-term initiative will have short, medium and long term impact and will help stretch the national imagination."

-- John Seely Brown
Chief Scientist, Xerox Corporation and
Director, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center

"The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is an extraordinarily important investment in the future strength of America's economy, industrial base, and scientific leadership. Recent scientific and technical advances have made it possible to assemble materials and components atom by atom, or molecule by molecule. We are just beginning to understand how to use nanotechnology to build devices and machines that imitate the elegance and economy of nature. The gathering nanotechnology revolution will eventually make possible a huge leap in computing power, vastly stronger yet much lighter materials, advances in medical technologies, as well as devices and processes with much lower energy and environmental costs. Nanotechnology may well rival the development of the transistor or telecommunications in its ultimate impact. Yet it is the first technological revolution since World War II in which the United States has not had an early commanding lead. We must invest now in the basic scientific and technological research, infrastructure, and young scientists and engineers who will drive this new field and create the industries of the future."

-- Charles M. Vest
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"The National Nanotechnology Initiative is a big step in a vitally important direction. It will send a clear signal to the youth of this country that the hard core of physical science (particularly physics and chemistry) and the nanofrontiers of engineering have a rich, rewarding future of great social relevance. The coming high tech of building practical things at the ultimate level of finesse, precise right down to the last atom, has the potential to transform our lives. Physics and chemistry are the principal disciplines that will make this all happen. But they are hard disciplines to master, and far too few have perceived the rewards at the end of the road sufficient to justify the effort. The proposed NNI will help immensely to inspire our youth."

-- Richard E. Smalley
Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Physics
Rice University Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology

"Nanotechnology has given us the play with the ultimate toy box of nature -- atoms and molecules. Everything is made from it...The possibilities to create new things appear limitless..."

-- Horst Stormer, Nobel Laureate
Columbia University,
Lucent Technologies

"This letter is to acknowledge my full support and endorsement for the National Nanotechnology Initiative. I believe that this initiative is very important for the nation, and will assure our continued leadership position in high technology. The encompassing potential for nanotechnology will help to contribute to improved healthcare for the nation, continue our countries industrial and economic growth, and provide new technical solutions for many environmental problems."

-- Michael J. Heller, Ph.D.
Chief Technical Office
Nanogen Inc.

"Having represented the pharmaceutical industry in the PCAST review of the applications of Nanotechnology and its role in the future of the U.S. and Global economy, I should like to add my endorsement of the position presented by the Panel on Nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology has the potential for several roles in the Health Care arena:

  • Reduction of particle sizes of drug substances to enhance oral availability of new drugs and provide mechanisms to enhance the speed of drug development;
  • Development of miniaturized drug delivery systems capable of controlling the release of drugs in a more reliable, time-dependent way than is possible with current technology;
  • Development of novel diagnostic technologies for evaluation and identification of diseases within the body;
  • Development of higher speed, higher capacity IT systems capable of storing and analyzing the massive amounts of data which will become available on patient genetics, and the potential to use this information for targeting the right drug to the right patient.

The potential applications of Nanotechnology are very significant for future health care, and deserves a focused national effort to develop the fundamental physical, chemical and engineering principles which will fuel its development and application."

-- Colin R. Gardner, Ph.D.
Vice President
Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Merck

"With the future breakthroughs of nanotechnology, we will be able to make things smaller than a few billionths of a meter. The idea of building machines at molecular scale, once fulfilled, will impact every facet of our lives, such as medicine, health care, computer, information, communication, environment, economy, and many more. Nanotechnology will mandate a highly multidisciplinary approach in education and research, cutting across the boundaries of chemistry, biology, physics, materials, and all aspects of engineering. Our campus and industrial partners applaud the foresight of President Clinton and several agencies lead by NSF on this 2001 federal initiative on "nanotechnology". We look forward with excitement to resonating to this challenging initiative."

-- Henry T. Yang
University of California Santa Barbara

"The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is an important endeavor for this nation to undertake particularly at this juncture of the technology's development. Without question, nanotechnologies will evolve into one of the most significant technological developments of the early 21st Century having major implications in fields ranging from medicine and health, agriculture, electronics, materials science and pharmaceuticals, to name just a few. In the field of semiconductors, the current technology is approaching the point where fundamental changes will be required to enable the industry's continuation down the historical "Moore's Law" path of reducing feature size and cost per bit to achieve continued functional growth--essential to continued productivity gains for the economy. Nanotechnology research represents a promising solution to this challenge, and enables our country to maintain our leadership position in the global high technology race.

Because the foreseeable applications for this technology are perhaps decades away from commercial reality, this basic technology is a classic candidate for federal funding and scientific pursuit. In addition, federal emphasis on nanotechnolgy through funding grants and scientific research within government, industry and university laboratories would serve to stimulate interest in science and technology among young men and women at a time when there exists a critical need for such resources in the country."

-- Yoshio Nishi
Senior Vice President
Research & Development
Texas Instruments Incorporated

"There has never been a more crucial time for the U. S. government to support basic research. Besides entering a "Knowledge Age," we are at the threshold of significant discoveries that will return tremendous economic benefits and radically improve every aspect of our lives. Nanotechnology is arguably one of the most promising of these areas, but one that will require long term research across many disciplines to achieve its full promise. Research in nanotechnology will focus the efforts of biologists, chemists, physicists and materials scientists to yield remarkable new materials and devices for medical diagnostics and treatment, computer technology and information management, and technologies for agriculture and energy production.

I wholeheartedly support the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). It's the right approach at the right time, and it provides educational support that will be the lifeblood of our future scientific progress. We must increase funding now for programs such as NNI if we are to maintain technological leadership in the near future."

-- Paul Horn
Senior Vice President
IBM Research

"The National Nanotechnology Initiative will support atomic, molecular, interface, and nanostructure research applicable to Mississippi State University's strategic research initiatives. These focus on sensor technologies, computational technologies, biotechnologies, and remote sensing, all addressing the agricultural, environmental, and industrial needs in Mississippi.

The sensor miniaturization program in our chemistry department and the simulation, modeling, and visualization capabilities of our Engineering Research Center in Computational Field Simulation provide cross-cutting technologies in support of research and development of sensing systems. These systems have important applications in the areas of environmental pollutants, chemical and biological molecules and proteins, and other nanotechnology structures."

-- Malcolm Portera
Mississippi State University

"Nanoscience and technology research at our Engineering Research Center for Biofilms has been crucial to our understanding weak chemical signals in colonies of bacteria that cause a host of diseases such as middle ear infections, prostatitis, and pneumonia in cystic fibrosis. Greater investment in research at the nanoscale will enable us to work on cures."

-- Tom McCoy
Acting President
Vice President for Research, Creativity and Technology Transfer
Montana State University

"As Director of Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, I would like to endorse the recommendations of your Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology in their support of the proposed Nanotechnology Initiative. As you may know, HP has been an industry leader in the development of computer technology based upon atomic and molecular structures. The ability to construct machines at the atomic scale will create exciting opportunities for developing new solutions to age-old problems in health and medicine, energy efficiency, agricultural productivity, and in preserving the environment. This development of intelligent, energy efficient and recyclable devices, whose size and weight will be measured in atoms, will likely drive the next wave of economic progress in this country and around the world.

For these reasons, Hewlett-Packard is committed to pursuing opportunities in nanotechnology. We recognize the great opportunities that nanotechnology holds for our country, and therefore we endorse your advisory committee's recommendations that these public policy goals - and their achievement - should be those of the nation as a whole."

-- Dick Lampman
Hewlett-Packard Laboratories

"As the elected representative of the 13,000-member Materials Research Society, I am writing to enthusiastically endorse the National Nanotechnology Initiative. This relatively new and exciting area of science and engineering holds tremendous promise for discoveries and inventions across a wide variety of areas. We see in nanotechnology opportunities for the development of new knowledge, techniques and devices with applications ranging from medicine to computers and telecommunications to aerospace. The ability to control materials near the atomic level to alter properties, tailor their behavior, and to build unseen devices will bring about a revolution that is currently unimaginable. The multidisciplinary nature of nanotechnology is particularly well-recognized by the MRS, in that our members work in cross-disciplinary arenas including biology, biochemistry, solid state physics, materials science, mechanical engineering, and many more. Their work includes much that is already occurring in the fledgling area of nanotechnology, such as biomimetic structures, nano-scale machines and smart materials. It is expected that the National Nanotechnology Initiative will also provide for the education and training in this area of the scientists, engineers, managers, and leaders of tomorrow. As nano-science and engineering is expected to become another fundamental technology, it is vital that we have both the best-trained practitioners and lay citizenry that must participate in making related social decisions.

Please accept our wholehearted support for the National Nanotechnology Initiative. We are looking forward to working with the President and Congress to build a bipartisan effort to make the Initiative a success."

-- Harry A. Atwater
Materials Research Society

"As President of the 42,000-member American Physical Society, I am pleased to endorse the new federal Initiative on Nanotechnology.

The Nanotechnology Initiative will take advantage of extraordinary recent developments in the ability of scientists to work with individual atoms, molecules, and electrons. These new capabilities will lead to a deeper understanding of the fundamental physics of novel atomic and molecular systems and, through this understanding, to a greatly enhanced ability to design new materials and devices. The opportunities for understanding the molecular basis for biological processes are especially exciting. I anticipate that the scientific advances arising from this initiative will revolutionize US industries and sustain our nation's remarkable economic development.

Physicists will play key roles in all aspects of the Nanotechnology Initiative. In order to inform our members about this new Initiative, the American Physical Society is planning a special plenary session on nanotechnology at our meeting this March."

-- James S. Langer
American Physical Society

"Nanotechnology is clearly a challenging new frontier for industry and industrial R&D, but one that offers unlimited potential for new products, new processes, and new services that will benefit society in ways we can not yet imagine."

-- Charles F. Larson
Industrial Research Institute

"I support the initiative because interest in nanomaterials has been rapidly growing for the past several years. More and more customers are coming to us looking to use our nanopowders to either dramatically improve existing products or create new products using these materials.

A thrust from the federal government is required not only to encourage basic research in nanomaterials to get a good understanding of the basic science issues involved, but also to bridge the gap between science on the one hand, and implementation in the real world on the other."

-- Ganesh Skandan
Vice President R & D
Nanopowder Enterprises Inc. (Small Business)

"As the President of the 10,000 member American Ceramic Society, I am writing to you in support of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. We believe that both the infusion of new funding in support of overall research and development activities, as well as this new initiative, will have a critical impact on the nation's economic growth and global leadership role.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative can have an important impact on broad areas of science and technology and can put us in a clear leadership position in this area (something we currently do not hold). Because this is a relatively new area, one can envision the possibility of numerous advances in materials, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, medicine, electronics, information and computer technologies, etc. As with any new research initiatives, one cannot accurately predict specific future breakthroughs. However, we know from past experiences that they are the basis for important new technologies and new civilian markets. One need only review the changes brought about by developments that have evolved from advances in communications and information technology; the space, energy, and nuclear programs; and in the areas of genetics and biotechnology.

The real danger is that of our current situation in which our stagnant support for R&D in the physical sciences is leading to a real decay in our technological and scientific leadership. Last fall, ACerS and many other technical materials societies, whose combined membership represent approximately one million members, wrote to individual congressmen asking them to reconsider the need to increase R&D funding. Prior to that, these technical societies had met with congressional leaders to support R&D funding increases. This continues to be a critical issue for this nation.

We fully support the National Nanotechnology Initiative as an extremely step towards the evolution of new technologies and revolutionary scientific discoveries. We further implore the administration and Congress to work together to increase support for all R&D, which continues to contribute to the growth of our nation's economy and technological and global leadership. We of the American Ceramic Society will strive to provide our support and leadership as we need towards these ends."

-- Paul F. Bechter
The American Ceramic Society

"Having first hand research experience in the field of nanotechnology, I would like to endorse the position presented by the panel on nanotechnology. Nanotechnology has excellent potential in revolutionizing Health Care industries. The reduction in size of pharmaceutically active ingredients should increase the stability and bioavailability of the drug. The nanodrug delivery systems will have extraordinary feature such as targeted ultracontrolled release of drugs, vis-a-vis, existing drug delivery systems. The nanobiomaterials have opened new opportunities in designing superior biocompatible coatings for the implants at a molecular level. The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is a very important investment for future growth of American economy and scientific leadership. We applaud the initiative taken by President Clinton and several other federal agencies on this topic of vital national interest. "

-- C. P. Singh, Ph.D.
Nano Interface Technology, Inc. (Small Business)

"The Executives Committees of the Division of Materials Physics and the Division of Condensed Matter Physics of the American Physical Society enthusiastically endorse the National Nanotechnology Initiative. We represent approximately 7,500 professional physicists, including many who are leaders in this emerging area of research.

The ability developed over the last decade to manipulate and study materials at the nanometer length scale offers possibilities for advances in science and technology whose potential impact is so vast that we are only just beginning to get a glimpse of it. We are at a time in the development of this technology similar to the early '90's when the Internet was emerging. Nanotechnology offers enormous potential for discovering new fundamental science, for creating new materials with unique and important properties, and for developing new technology. Recent discoveries include an electronic device based on a single molecule, manipulation of biocellular function via synthetic nanocrystal insertion, and nano-scale sensors able to detect environmental conditions with unprecedented accuracy. The impact will be felt in nearly every area of technology, from information storage and processing, to medicine, to remote sensing, to automobiles and telephones. The impact on fundamental science is equally broadbased, from new tools to measure X-rays from distant galaxies to measuring the properties of individual electrons in semiconductors. In addition, we believe that the ability to visualize and manipulate atoms and molecules will capture the public's imagination and inspire a new public commitment to teaching and learning science.

Development of nanoscale science and technology is dependent on progress in an extraordinary wide range of fields, including physics, chemistry, materials science, biology, and engineering. It underlies a new unity in science where progress often depends on a multidisciplinary approach, and where a technological or scientific advance in one field can create extraordinary opportunities in another.

A strong investment by the nation in nanotechnology will lay the intellectual and technical foundation for sustained advances in cutting edge science, innovative technology, and economic competitiveness over the next quarter century. Nanotechnology is the next great frontier, with challenges and opportunities that will extend our reach and enrich our lives. As physicists, we stand ready to work together with other scientists and engineers to develop the promise of nanotechnology. We welcome the scientific challenges and the technological opportunities. We believe that the National Nanotechnology Initiative will bring unprecedented rewards to our society."

-- Frances Hellman
Chair, APS Division of Materials Physics

-- Richard A. Webb
Chair, APS Division of Condensed Matter Physics

Letter from Dean D. Allan Bromley sent to President Clinton:

"Dear President Clinton: There are few, if indeed any, areas of science or technology that will not be profoundly changed by the introduction of nanotechnology. For this reason, the National Nanotechnology Initiative is of fundamental importance to our economic competitiveness, to our national security, and to the quality of our lives. As yet, we have only glimpsed the dramatic impact that nanodevices can have in extending or repairing deficits in the human senses, in increasing the sensitivity of our measurements, and in expanding the scope and power of both communications and computations. The Initiative is particularly important in that it will build and strengthen the necessary science and technology infrastructure across the U.S. at research centers and institutions, to keep us at the forefront of this vital new technology. We were slow to appreciate its potential and slow to invest in its development. By coordinating fundamental research investments by the more than 15 federal agencies interested in nanotechnology, the Initiative will ensure maximum possible returns in new knowledge and in young minds trained to use that knowledge in innovative and creative fashion for each tax dollar spent.

Nanotechnology is the sixth truly revolutionary technology introduced in the modern world following the Industrial Revolution of the mid-1700s, the Nuclear Energy Revolution of the 1940?s, The Green Revolution of the 1960?s, The Information Revolution of the 1980?s, and the Bio Technology Revolution of the 1990?s."

-- D. Allan Bromley
Formerly The Assistant to The President of the United States
for Science and Technology (1989-1993)

"Nanotechnology, the science of developing tools and machines as small as one molecule, will have as big an impact on our lives as transistors and chips did in the past 40 years. Imagine highly specialized machines you ingest, systems for security smaller than a piece of dust and collectively intelligent household appliances and cars. The implications for defense, public safety and health are astounding."

-- Newt Gingrich
Formerly The Speaker of the House
(in the Washington Post, October 18, 1999
We Must Fund The Scientific Revolution)

As the President of The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS) I am writing to enthusiastically endorse the National Nanotechnology Initiative. We represent 10,000 professional materials scientists and engineers, some of whom will certainly be leaders in such a national effort. In fact TMS 10 years ago recognized this as one of the potentially most important unexplored frontiers in materials science. As a consequence TMS began holding a series of symposia in the area for university, industry, and government research laboratory scientists to become educated and excited by the possibilities presented by materials having some characteristic nanometer dimensionality. Between then and now exciting "glimpses" of novel properties, unusual property combinations, and new phenomena have been uncovered in such materials. However, much more remains to be answered. For instance, in most cases it is still not known whether the novel properties are a consequence of new physics at the nanometer scale or just the logical extension to small dimensions of large scale phenomena. A focused national effort is just what is required in order for this area to be explored at a faster rate: US industry, national security, and public health can then capitalize on the discoveries of the last 15-20 years, e.g. in taking advantage of findings like the "giant magnetoresistance effect" in nanolayered thin films, which is revolutionizing the magnetic storage industry. Since existing measurement tools are working at their limits to examine such materials, new devices and equipment need to be developed and a large cadre of students need to be trained in their use. Cross-disciplinary research needs to be encouraged and fostered; and seed money for testing innovative ideas needs to be available. A National Nanotechnology Initiative should accomplish this. . . . TMS, a materials society, is wholeheartedly behind this National Initiative because we see this as THE direction of the future in materials research.

-- Y. Austin Chang
The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society

"This new technology is very exciting and might lead to discoveries that will change the way almost everything, from building materials to vaccines to computers, are designed and made." "research in nanotechnology is extremely important to future rates of innovation in the country. Innovation is the key to our comparative advantage in the global economy, yet federal investment in the physical sciences that help drive innovation - math, chemistry, geology, physics, and chemical, mechanical, and electrical engineering - are all declining, as are the number of college and advanced degrees in these areas.... It is vitally important that we increase our investment in the physical sciences, including nanotechnology, if we are to see increases in productivity and incomes in the years ahead."

-- Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN)
The Senate Science and Technology Caucus's Roundtable Discussion
April 5, 2000

Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) enthusiastically endorses the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). It is a critical investment in the future strength of America's economy, industrial base, and scientific leadership.

Currently, researchers at universities, companies, and federal labs in Virginia are active in such applications of nanotechnology research as aerospace, biotechnology, communications, electronics, information technology, and advanced manufacturing. The NNI will help Virginia continue to contribute to critical breakthroughs.

Nanotechnology requires a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach in research and industry. Our academic and industrial partners join CIT in expressing the importance of this initiative to the future of the Commonwealth of Virginia and America.

-- Anne Armstrong
Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology

"Nanotechnology sounds like something that's almost science fiction. It's a word that's easy to think is not a real tangible policy. Well, what nanotechnology means to the average citizen is: will it be able to identify a cancer when it's one cell large?

"It's the kind of breakthrough that will open doors to science and health research that are closed if we don't invest in nanotechnology. With a surplus and a time of economic well being in the country we have the ability, and I would say we have the obligation, to invest in that kind of forward-looking research. That's why the president put those proposals forward, it's why we're fighting very hard as the Congress considers our budget request for those priorities. We're going to stick to our guns, and we're going to keep insisting on better funding in these areas, because we believe it's very important."

-- Jack Lew
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
July 5, 2000, National Press Club

"Nanotechnology is another very important NSF program. Nanotechnology refers to the ability to manipulate individual atoms and molecules, making it possible to build machines on the scale of human cells or create materials and structures from the bottom up, building in desired properties. Nanotechnology is at an exploratory state. The Nanotechnology Initiative at NSF will fund over 600 projects and 2500 faculty and students, fund 10 large engineering research and materials research centers and 5 university-based research hubs. These efforts will, among other things, help create the knowledge required to address the fast approaching physical limits to semiconductor performance."

-- Senator Trent Lott
Senate Majority Leader
Letter to Senate High-Technology Task Force
August 2000

"We started the last century with the industrial revolution and ended it with the information revolution. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, we are on the verge of a new revolution - THE NANOTECHNOLOGY REVOLUTION.

What is nanotechnology? Why do I believe it is the science and technology that will drive the future? Nanotechnology is the science of creating new materials and devices on the atomic and sub-atomic level through the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules. In Nanotechnology, we are poised to take the next major leap into the future where the possibilities are endless. . . . . . .

Now, the time is right to establish Nanotechnology as an urgent national priority. Last year, President Clinton released a blueprint and a budget for a National Nanotechnology Initiative. This blueprint, created by an inter-agency working group, is one of the least noted and most important documents of the Clinton Administration."

-- Senator Barbara A. Mikulski
Wernher von Braun Lecture at NASA Headquarters
June 12, 2000

* Note some pages may require plug-in to view.