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News Release 16-036

Super small science competition announces student finalists

Cast a vote for the Generation Nano's people's choice award from April 7 to 15

comic showing various characters and the text genration nano small science superheroes

GenNano taps young people's interests in science, engineering and superheroes.


March 30, 2016

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced the names of three finalists in its Generation Nano: Small Science, Superheroes competition, sponsored by NSF and its National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) and supported by many, including superhero legend Stan Lee.

High school students Madeleine Chang from Bergen County Academies in New Jersey, Vuong Mai from Martha Ellen Stilwell School of the Arts in Georgia and Eric Liu from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia will come to Washington, D.C., to display their comics and compete for prizes at the 2016 USA Science & Engineering Festival in mid-April.

The competition drew submissions from all over the country. All responded to the call to think big -- or in this case small -- and use nanotechnology to empower their own original superheroes. Chang's hero "Radio Blitz" disposes of local waste. Mai's protector "Nine" dons a Nanosuit for strength to save a kidnapping victim. And Liu's "Nanoman" fights the malignant crab-monster, "Cancer."

"These three finalists tell a great story -- all while they exemplify the combination of a sound technical basis for use of nanotechnology and artistic presentation," said Lisa Friedersdorf, deputy director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office. "I think these comics will inspire other students to learn more about what is possible with nanotechnology."

When it comes to applications for nanotechnology, "The possibilities abound," said Mihail C. Roco, NSF senior advisor for science and engineering and key architect of NNI.

"Since these high school students were born, more discoveries have come from nanotechnology than any other field of science, with its discoveries penetrating all aspects of society -- new industries, medicine, agriculture and the management of natural resources," Roco said. "It is so exciting that these kids are getting in on the ground floor of progress. The competition inspires young people to dream high and create solutions in a way that may change their lives and those around them. We need this new talent; the future of emerging technologies, including nanotechnology depends on it."

Competition details

  • Students were challenged to submit a written entry explaining their superhero and nanotechnology-driven gear, along with a one-page comic or 90-second video.
  • A panel of judges from academia and multimedia platforms selected semifinalists, from which the public is now invited to vote for their favorite from April 7 to 15.
  • Finalists will showcase their comics at the 2016 USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., where a panel of experts, including Two Bit Circus' Brent Bushnell and Disney's Lizabeth Fogel, will serve as final-round judges. Prizes are $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place.
  • Votes will be tallied and the "People's Choice Award" will also be presented at the Festival.

Visit the Generation Nano competition website for full eligibility criteria, entry guidelines, timeline, prizes and videos/comics from the finalists and semifinalists.

And remember to vote for your favorite from April 7 to 15.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF, (703) 292-8311, lzgorski@nsf.gov

Program Contacts
Mihail C. Roco, NSF, (703) 292-7032, mroco@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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