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Posted: May 16, 2009
Nanotechnology pioneer honored by Houston Technology Center
(Nanowerk News) Rice Professor James Tour was one of six high-profile Houstonians honored at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Houston Technology Center (HTC) this week, earning a special achievement award for his advances in nanotechnology.
Tour, the Chao Professor of Chemistry and professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and of computer science, is known as the creator of the nanocar and a pioneer in molecular electronics, but recent work in his lab has led to breakthroughs in graphene-based memory and the bulk manufacture of nanoribbons that could be used in very strong, electrically conductive materials and microelectronics. The latter was detailed in a cover story in the journal Nature last month.
Last year, Tour won the Feynman Prize in Experimental Nanotechnology. He has founded or co-founded several nanotech-based companies in Houston and holds more than 40 patents.
The nonprofit HTC bills itself as the largest technology business incubator in Texas, helping accelerate the commercialization of tech-based businesses in Greater Houston.
"In history, we have seen the Agrarian Age, the Industrial Age, the Jet Age, the Space Age and the Information Age," said Walter Ulrich, president and CEO of the HTC. "The next era is the Nanotechnology Age, and its impact on energy and life science will change the world. We chose to recognize the outstanding achievement of Dr. Tour as one of the leaders who will be ushering in this new age."
Of the HTC, Tour said, "They're really pro-Houston. They're trying to make this city about more than just energy. Electronics, materials, biosciences -- they would like to see all that stay here rather than go to the West Coast or the Northeast Corridor or North Carolina.
"I stand behind what they do. I think it's really noble of them," he said.
Others honored at the May 14 event at the InterContinental Hotel were Robert McNair, owner of the Houston Texans and founder and former CEO of Cogen Technologies; Gale Burkett, chairman and CEO of science and engineering firm GB Tech, a major NASA contractor; Rod Canion, co-founder of Compaq Computers; Nancy Chang, co-founder and former CEO of Houston biotech firm Tanox; and Dan Duncan, co-founder and chairman of Enterprise Products, a gas and oil pipeline company.
Rice President David Leebron and Wade Adams, director of Rice's Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, are both members of the HTC Board of Directors.