Posted: February 8, 2008

Riyadh University initiates program on nanotechnology

(Nanowerk News) Dr. Mohammed Nashai, a renowned nanotechnologist from Egypt, has been appointed dean of King Abdullah Institute for Nanotechnology (KAIN), which will be up and running at King Saud University’s Department of Physics here in six months.
“Work is in full swing for establishing the institute, for which Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has allocated SR12 million. We have already signed a contract with Theodor W. Hansch of the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany, and the winner of the 2005 Nobel prize in physics, to teach as a visiting professor at KAIN,” Dr. Salman A.H. Alrokayan, director of the KSU Nanotechnology Program, told Arab News.
Dr. Mohammed Al-Omar, associate professor, Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department, College of Pharmacy, KSU, also spoke during a joint interview.
Nashai studied at Hanover University in 1968 and also in Britain. He taught at Cambridge University for 11 years prior to serving a four-year term in the Saudi Arabian National Center for Science and Technology, the predecessor of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). His distinguished track record is expected to give a major boost to KSU’s Nanotechnology Institute.
Alrokayan said that besides these distinguished nanotechnologists, they also signed contracts with other experts from the US, France, Germany and India to join the teaching faculty.
“We shall also go to Singapore, South Korea and Germany for recruiting staff for our institute,” he said. “We welcome collaboration with others interested in our program.”
Al-Omar said highly qualified technicians would be appointed soon for providing operational support. In terms of infrastructural facilities, they are awaiting the arrival of equipment, for which negotiations are still going on.
“We want the best equipment for the institute,” he said, adding that other ancillary support systems would also be installed. A separate facility has been set up in the physics department of the College of Science located on the KSU campus.
As for the students, Al-Omar said undergraduate and postgraduate students would be enrolled. Initially, admission will be limited to Saudi students before extending it to others from around the world.
This intermingling of students should help young Saudis a great deal in cultivating scientific ethos among them.
The thrust of the research program will be on harnessing the benefits of nanotechnology on the socio-economic side. “Saudi Arabia is known as the ‘Kingdom of Humanity’. Our research program should address those concerns,” Al-Omar said.
Source: Arab News
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