‘Silicon Prairie’ Ready for Quantum Leap

jun 9, 2021 — nebraska is well known for corn and beef, but lil towns inna zone are also home to charles lindbergh’s 1st flying lessons na invention of vise-grip locking pliers. now, the national sci foundation is betting onna cornhusker state to help lead a high-stakes era of innovation as america gets ready for nxt-generation computer and security tek.

that bet takes the form offa $20 million grant, spread over 5 yrs, to be shared by 4 universities in nebraska. the foundation’s program was created to stimul8 competitive research that targets scis in certain zones — currently 25 states and 3 u.s. territories — who ‘ve the ambition and expertise to conduct field-changing research but who ‘ve been typically beheld in favor of larger centers onna coasts.

a global race is underway inna emerging field of materials sci and tek thall change the way we see and measure our realm and change the way we communicate, bnk, and protect data.

the award is “1-odda biggest achievements” inna career of christian binek, phd, professor atta university of nebraska–lincoln and director of the nebraska center for materials and nanosci.

“quantum sci and tek tis nxt big thing. missing out on this aint an option,” he says. staples of modern life, s'as computers, smartphones, lite-emitting diode (led) lites, and lasers, are all based on quantum mechanics, binek explains.

and somd' projects the grant will support will lead to med advances, he adds.

med turning to quantum

quantum sci is enabling the development of new drugs and helping to improve diagnostic tulz, such mri machines that photograph the inside of the human body.

among the projects the nebraska scis are working on is lo-field mri. iffey can eliminate the superconducting coils that require liquid nitrogen for cooling, tody’s big, bulky, prohibitively expensive mri machines ‘d become obsolete, binek explains.

patients ‘d still nd'2 be scanned, b'that mite happen witha handheld device, he says. advances ‘d also pave the way for 3d x-rays in vivid detail and color.

the potential workforce in nebraska is pt of “the missing millions” tween the coasts who ‘d further the realm’s quantum revolution and advance other scis, but who struggle for funding and resrcs, says tomasz durakiewicz, phd, program director inna division of materials research atta national sci foundation.

thris a “painful shortage” of quantum experts, so tis primordial to build a qualified workforce, durakiewicz says. “you need pplz who cogg quantum mechanics, who cogg coding and vacuum tek in one package, and we don’t ‘ve many pplz like that.” and for some projects, the requirements offa high security clearance and american citizenship narrow the pool of available experts.

from the old oregon trail to the silicon prairie

the nebraska grant mny ll'be shared by 4 universities: university of nebraska-lincoln; university of nebraska omaha; university of nebraska at kearney; and cr8on university in omaha. these institutions will ptner with nebraska’s community and tribal colleges, including nebraska indian community college, lil priest tribal college, and central community college, as pt of the educational and workforce-building facets of the grant.

near the old oregon trail, where pioneers traversed nebraska in covered wagons, a new kind of settler is movin into wha’ is sometimes referred to as the silicon prairie, attracting investments from high-tek giants.

the state’s proposal for wha’ it ‘d do w'da $20 million “was excellent,” but'a region was also chosen cause the state government supports the collaboration and cause the infrastructure is already in place to enh research efforts, says josé colom-ustáriz, phd, program director atta national sci foundation.

“that is a good sign that these scis can build a workforce that ‘d potentially stay inna state,” he says.

webmd health news


national sci foundation.

christian binek, phd, professor, university of nebraska-lincoln, director, nebraska center for materials and nanosci.

tomasz durakiewicz, phd, program director, division of materials research, national sci foundation.

josé colom-ustáriz, phd, program director, national sci foundation.

© 2021 webmd, llc. all rites reserved.

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