Department of Chemical Engineering
One University Avenue
Lowell, MA 01854
Tel: 978-934-3171
Fax: 978-934-3047


































Reduced graphene oxide image of Einstein inkjet printed on PET using a commercial inkjet printer

Single-walled carbon nanotube image of Gandhi inkjet printed on PET using a commercial inkjet printer


We are offering a 4-6 week summer research internship program to highly motivated high school students. Students will train under a senior graduate student in a variety of research areas depending on their interest and aptitude. They will learn the fundamentals of nanotechnology, biotechnology and green/sustainable chemistry directly from research personnel through a guided program that involves literature study (homework) and laboratory research. Students will learn to think independently in these areas and will have an opportunity to evaluate new/novel ideas if they remain engaged with the research effort beyond the internship (school year and following summers).

We are offering the following research/training modules:

Plastics that conduct electricity: This emerging field was recognized in 2000 with a Nobel Prize in chemistry being awarded to three pioneering scientists. Students will learn why and how plastics conduct elecricity (theory/homework) and will synthesize 3 different electrically conducting plastics in the laboratory. These polymers will be characterized using state of the art instrumentation which will offer students a unique experience on how research is conducted in a rapidly developing area.

Nanosynthesis and characterization: Students will syntheisze nanowires of polymers and metals in the laboratory and charaterize them using state-of-the-art instrumentation. They will also learn to articulate the technological potential of these novel materials (theory/homework).

Biosynthesis: Students will learn about how microbes can convert waste materials to useful plasitcs (theory/homework). For example they will join a team of scientists who are engaged in the bioconversion of waste cardboard to high performance polymers and plastics (green/sustainable technology).

Energy storage and harvesting: Students will synthesize high surface area nanostructured materials and test their ability to store electricity as capacitors and batteeries. Hands-on experience with battery testing. Students will learn about the challenges facing us in the area of green energy conversion and storage (theory/homework).

Sensors and detection technology: Students will join a team of scientists who are developing new nanostructured materials that can detect chemical vapors that are relevant to the US defence mission. Hand-on experience with real-time chemical sensing. Students should be able to articulate the current challenges facing US chem/bio detection technologies (theory/homework).



We actively partner with local schools to bridge the widening "science gap" that threatens US global competitiveness. We have traced the problem directly to the print and electronic media's addiction to entertainment and professional sports (its the obsession that makes it unhealthy). Local HS students complain about two key science/engineering de-motivators: (i) boring, and (ii) booooooooring.

Direct Science & Engineering Outreach

The best way to counter this growing destructive mindscape is for university professors and educators to partner with K-12 educators and directly meet with high school, middle school and yes, elementary school students and tell them (warts and all) about why science and engineering are so much fun. It is equally important to stress that the language of science is the language of the 21st century and it is their future (and present) that is at stake. They must also be made aware of this under-the-table anti-science agenda outside the classroom and be given tools to help them actively counter it.

Our aim is to do everything we can to link science/engineering with the following thoughts: (i) fun, (ii) rewarding, (iii) people (sense of belonging).

We have 9th and 10th grade students on research summer internships working with senior graduate students and post-docs on cutting edge nanotechnology research. One student has already published 4 publications in peer reviewed journals.

We actively support UML's outreach effort through the NSF funded science of small things (SoST) that aims to bring the excitement of nanotechnology to Lowell high schools. We plan to have our HS summer research interns to visit these high schools with us and show their peers directly what is not only possible, but also a lot of fun.

We also incorporate a service learning component in our courses, i.e., a portion of the class will address a problem that directly affects an individual or a community e.g., improving the energy efficiency of an old building, building a specialized wheelchair, etc. This is a signature UML program and we actively support it.

We visit local schools and talk directly with students at all levels (K5-12). The brief discussion is followed by hands on experiments that each student gets to do (~30 min). They will have some follow on homework. This is a lot of work and takes time away from research and teaching. However, we think the problem is so acute that something drastic is required, e.g., the current system of science education is broken and cannot be fixed by using the same tools.

Science is not a subject, science is people. This is a very important link for us to make with each other and with the community at large.


Respected Mr. Gandhi !
I use the presence of your friend in our home to send you these lines. You have shown through your works, that it is possible to succeed without violence even with those who have not discarded the method of violence. We may hope that your example will spread beyond the borders of your country, and will help to establish an international authority, respected by all, that will take decisions and replace war conflicts.
With sincere admiration,
Yours A. Einstein.
I hope that I will be able to meet you face to face some day.

Copyright 2005 Sanjeev Manohar

Copyright 2005 Sanjeev Manohar