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MIT student blogger Paul B. '11

Nano @ MIT by Paul B. '11

Puppets! Research! Nanotechnology!

Have you seen this adorable video?

Patrick Bennett, a Berkeley grad student, submitted this video for the Nanonation Video Contest.

Relatedly, I’ve been getting quite a few questions about nanotechnology at MIT, so I figured I might as well take this opportunity to clear up some of the more common questions:

Is there a nanotechnology major at MIT?
Not specifically. However, many of MIT’s larger departments offer courses and other opportunities to focus on nanotechnology. The primary majors connected to nanotechnology are Mechanical Engineering, Biological Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering (Courses 2, 20, and 3) – but Physics (Course 8) and Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (Course 6) are also closely related.

Can I get involved in nanotechnology at MIT?
Absolutely! In addition to taking classes, the best way to become part of the nanotechnology movement is to get a UROP at one of the many laboratories conducting nanotech research. Here’s a few of the nanotech labs I’m aware of:

The Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies, led by Professor Sangeeta Bhatia, uses nanotechnology to develop new techniques for tissue repair and regeneration. The lab has a particular emphasis on liver disease and cancer.

The BioInstrumentation Lab, which Melis ’08 worked in as an undergrad, is also involved in some nanotechnology projects, including things like nanowires that could be used as intravascular neural electrodes.

Professor Matt Lang’s lab, which focuses on biophysics, works with nanoscale phenomena regularly. Thanks to the magic of single molecule fluorescence and optical tweezers, researchers in the Lang Lab can manipulate molecules with nanometer precision (and with piconewtons of force!).

Professor. Angela Belcher’s research group sits at the interface of materials science and biological engineering, mixing the two disciplines to create some truly amazing things – like nanobatteries!

The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies focuses on using nanotechnology to improve military technology – everything from hi-tech battle suits to new medical treatments.

Space Nanotechnology Lab and NanoStructures Lab both work on some of the more physics-oriented applications of nanotechnology, such as nanoscale fabrication, nanomagnetics, and scanning-electron-beam lithography. The lab features a combination of professors and students from Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Aero/Astro, and Physics.

Finally, Melis ’08 wrote a great great entry on nanotechnology last year, and it’s still quite relevant. Check it out!

What other types of research do you want to hear about?

23 responses to “Nano @ MIT”

  1. Rebeca '13? says:

    Cute song!

    I have a request for you, Paul. Could you do some research into the laser tagging opportunities at MIT? Is there a club or something? Are there any good arenas nearby?

  2. Anonymous says:


    it made me think only about one.

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    I am SO showing this to my lab group. We specialize in nanomaterials, so I have a feeling the professor will really like it. :D

  5. Shoshie says:

    Adorable! (And very intriguing)

  6. Sheila ('13) says:

    OMG!! thanks for this post!! I have some interest in nanotech, and I’ve been thinking that I might want to UROP in nanotech one day at MIT!!!!! thankss for the post! xD

  7. Anonymous says:

    What’s going on with neuroscience at MIT?
    Can undergrads get involved?

  8. Narce says:

    I won’t be doing extensive research in nano, but I have a feeling that the future of virtual reality hardware could progress in a similar fashion as nanobots, so I definitely want to at least get a UROP one semester to study the computer science aspect of nanobots.

    (planned major: course 6;planned job:virtual reality driver/engine design. I want to know EVERYTHING about computer science so that I can advance the field of virtual reality programming with my own research~)

  9. Narce says:

    Blah, there I go, making myself sound ignorant -.-” For some reason I say “nanobots” every time I think the word “nanotechnology”. In one of those sentences, I even meant to specifically mention “nanotubes”. (for program-controlled electric impulses to be run through nanotubes in particular fashions for virtual reality feedback… though I obviously had no intention of saying so much, since I’m correcting myself, I might as well…. and now I’m just rambling)

  10. That research all sounds really exciting/awesome- nanotechnology is something I’m pretty interested in. And that song is very cool.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Math research?

  12. Akhila says:

    Could u please tell about research in Aerospace engineering and biomedical engineering ?

  13. Muhammad says:

    “For you or I to see”

    “For your eye to see”


  14. niloo says:

    i want to join your university.but i dont know what to do.if anyone knows some ways that can help me plz mail me.
    i’ve made some robots.
    my math is good.

    thank you so much

  15. nanofreak says:


  16. Rebeca says:

    @ nanofreak: Uh, he just *did*.

  17. that sounds like so much fun! Professor Angela Belcher’s research group looks like the coolest one in my oh-so-humble opinion. yet another reason to long for acceptance in 30 hrs…

    @ Rebeca- we have the same name!! well almost anyway. maybe thats good luck??? best of luck tomorrow! =D

  18. Rebeca '13? says:

    @ Rebecca (13?): Thanks!! You too! Maybe us Rebec(c)as can take over MIT ^_^

  19. This is absolutely awesome! I’ve had this stuck in my head for 2 days now and i keep singing it, but it’s one of those things where you’ve watched it once so you don’t know all the words, so i make them up, and it’s driving my family and friends crazy! haha It’s great. THis is totally something i would do/have done!

  20. Mendel Rap says:

    Hey paul here’s another cool bio related video. Please share it in your next blog!

    PS-I posted this on one of Keri’s blogs too