Workshop Topic, Purpose, Background and Goals.

A workshop entitled Nanomaterials and the Environment will be held June 28-29, 2011 in Arlington Virginia. The purpose of this NSF-sponsored workshop is to identify and define opportunities for chemists who wish to explore the interactions between nanomaterials and environmental systems at the molecular level. An invitation-only workshop composed of a diverse group of established investigators, primarily from the chemical sciences but also including environmental engineers, toxicologists and biologists, will gather to identify issues, techniques and computational methods that are needed to address research needs in the workshop topic and to define the role of chemists and chemistry in this important interdisciplinary field. This workshop, with approximately 35 invitees, will be held in Arlington, Virginia (Hilton Hotel) on June 28th and 29th, 2011.

The topic of the workshop, Nanomaterials and the Environment, underscores a society-relevant research area in which chemists can play an important and leading role. The workshop will further both the topic and the role of chemists and chemistry in this area. There are several goals of the  workshop that include:

  1. Engage participants and generate exciting ideas that fall in the theme of the workshop topic Nanomaterials and the Environment
  2. Identify challenges and opportunities in understanding Nanomaterials and the Environment, i.e. identify problems, techniques and computational methods (including but not limited to the role of computational chemistry, size-dependent behavior and translating laboratory-based studies to environmental conditions).
  3. Identify areas where environmentally relevant fundamental studies are needed to better understand Nanomaterials and the Environment. As complexity is an issue in all studies related to the environment, it is important to identify relevant fundamental chemistry issues that need to be addressed.
  4. Educate chemists through the workshop and workshop report on some of the issues so that chemists with their expertise in molecularly based studies involving state-of-the-art instrumentation, computation and synthetic methodologies can apply these toward Nanomaterials and the Environment.
  5. Articulate the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to environmental problems such as Nanomaterials and the Environment and identify opportunities for collaboration between chemists and engineers, geoscientists, atmospheric scientists etc. 
  6. Identify mechanisms for chemists to take leading roles on environmental problems including but not limited to Nanomaterials and the Environment and tie this to foundation-wide initiatives including Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) a five-year NSF-Wide investment area.
  7. Prepare a workshop report and disseminate to the community some of the areas that are identified as important problems, techniques and computational methods needed to better understand Nanomaterials and the Environment.
  8. Disseminate workshop findings further in a symposium at an upcoming American Chemical Society Meeting (e.g. San Diego Spring Meeting) on Nanomaterials and the Environment, which will be organized through Colloid and Surface Chemistry and co-sponsored by Physical Chemistry, Geochemistry, and Environmental Chemistry and from this symposium a thematic journal issue in one of the relevant American Chemical Society Journals.

This workshop is sponsored by the National Science Foundation under grant CHE-1138118 to the University of Iowa.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation