Nanotechnology’s potential to help with homeland security is the subject of a forum that hundreds of experts from industry, academia and government will attend Monday, Dec. 15, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST in Bldg. 3 at NASA Research Park at NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

Nanotechnology is the creation of materials, devices and systems through the control of matter on the nanometer scale. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, roughly 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Scientists say nanotechnology could lead to changes in almost everything from computers and medicine to automobiles and spacecraft.

“NASA is using nanotechnology to reduce the weight and increase the capability of spacecraft. One of the strongest of the nation’s lines of defense could include microscopic sensors and machines derived from our NASA work,” said G. Scott Hubbard, director of NASA Ames. “This revolutionary, new technology could provide a vital component of the nation’s ongoing efforts to defend against terrorist threats,” Hubbard stated.

NASA is co-hosting the Nanotechnology and Homeland Security Forum with U.S. Reps. Anna G. Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren and Mike Honda. Honda is co-sponsor of the Boehlert-Honda Nanotechnology Bill, H.R. 766. After emerging from a bipartisan committee, the bill resulted in S 189 that President Bush Dec. 3 signed into law. It authorizes $3.7 billion for research over the next four years for the National Nanotechnology Initiative.

“This will be a big shot in the arm for Silicon Valley and for the country’s economy,” Honda said. “Nanotechnology has the potential to create entirely new industries and radically transform the basis of competition in other fields,” Honda added. The National Science Foundation has projected a $1 trillion global nanotechnology market within the next decade.

The forum will include four panel discussions: Homeland Security Technology Needs, Homeland Security Nanotechnology R&D, Venture Capital and Government Funding, and Business Role and Market.

“I’m proud to welcome the Nanotechnology and Homeland Security Forum to the heart of Silicon Valley,” said Eshoo. “Our region has for decades led the world in developing innovative solutions to our most pressing technological challenges. As we address the critical question of how to strengthen homeland security, I have no doubt that many of the answers will be found right here,” Eshoo added.

The meeting will include key participants from NASA Ames, other Bay Area federal laboratories (including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Calif.), universities, and such companies as Hewlett-Packard, Genencor, The Boeing Company and representatives from the venture capital community and the federal government.

“It is essential that we bring leading thinkers and innovators together to understand the tremendous potential of nanotechnology and what needs to be done to further encourage its development,” said Lofgren. “I always look forward to learning more about the exciting work that is being done at NASA Ames in the area of nanotechnology,” Lofgren continued.

“This forum will provide participants with an excellent opportunity to see and hear first hand much of the work and research that is being done in the areas of homeland security and nanotechnology, learn of funding opportunities and share ideas on the future of the Bay Area economy,” said Michael Marlaire, NASA Ames’ assistant director for development.

There also will be breakout sessions for: roundtable discussions on the Northern California Nanotechnology and Convergence Roadmap, presentations of early stage companies and technologies and various funding opportunities in this field.

“Nanotechnology provides an enormous opportunity to increase the sensitivity of sensors for detecting chemical, biological and nuclear threats,” said Meyya Meyyappan, director of the Center for Nanotechnology at NASA Ames. “The bonus is that the product can come in ultra-small size, requiring only low power levels,” Meyyappan added.

The forum is co-sponsored by: Technet, Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium (BASIC), Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network, Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, Bay Area Economic Forum, Northern California Nanotechnology Initiative, NOVA (North Valley Workforce Board) and the cities of Palo Alto, Mountain View and Sunnyvale, Calif.

A ‘Webcast’ and additional information about the forum is on the Internet at:

More information about NASA nanotechnology can be found on the World Wide Web at: