Vol. 1, Issue 27, November 18, 2003
Mississippi Passes "Nano-whatchamacallit" Initiative
The Mississippi Legislature overwhelmingly passed an initiative yesterday making nanotechnology research and development a top priority for the state.
"I am really pleased that Mississippi has taken this important step in supporting nonatech - nanutechnomology - whatever. It's a revolution and we're on board," enthused Lieutenant Governor Amy Tuck. "Just try and stop us now!"
At its simplest level, nanotechnology is engineering at the molecular level, the scale below microtechnology. It involves manipulation of structures and processes for single molecules or atoms. During the past 10 years it has become one of the most important areas of new science, and one of the most commercially exciting.
The federal government invested over $710 million in nanotechnology research in FY 2003, and plans to increase spending in FY2004. The sheer size of this investment has attracted the attention of many states, including Mississippi.
"The way I figure, we sure could use a chunk of that money," said Senator Jack Gordon, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. "And the way I figure, this here initiative will send a powerful message to the folks in D.C. that we ain't foolin' around when it comes to nano -stuff."
Mississippi, which has one of the worst educational systems in the country and virtually no research facilities conducting or capable of conducting nanoscience or nanotechnology research, is confident that its initiative will attract federal funding despite the fact that the Mississippi initiative spells 'nanotechnology' six different ways.
"The key to getting' federal dollars is in the attitude," said Mississippi State University physics professor Leonard Canfield, who earned statewide fame by successfully receiving the state's first (and only) National Science Foundation grant in 1983. "Now, my application was very complimentary to them Washington folk, and I may even have accidentally dropped a few hunnert-dollar bills in there. Now that's a good return on investment."
The National Science Foundation could not be reached for comment, because their website contains too many words we had to look up in the dictionary. However, it is hard to dismiss the infectious enthusiasm of this perennial underdog state.
"Watch us go!" said Tuck. "We'll be nano-ing in no time!"