NNCO and Museum of Science Fiction to Collaborate on Nanotechnology and 3D Printing Panels at Awesome Con


The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) and the Museum of Science Fiction (MOSF) have teamed up for this year’s Awesome Con to present two exciting panels, Nanotechnology: Fact from Fiction and 3D Printing: “Replicating” Success. The purpose of these panels is to examine the intersection between science, technology, science fiction, and popular culture, and to discuss ways in which these new technologies will impact our lives. The panels will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. on May 30. Panel times, speakers, and descriptions are below. For updates and ticket information, visit http://www.awesome-con.com/.


Nanotechnology: Fact from Fiction
May 30 at 4:45PM
Panel Description: 
Could Tony Stark really take a bullet in the face and be protected by transparent graphene? Could a ship heal itself without Cylon organic resin? Could nanobots repair my broken leg or would that rob the Universe of energy? These are the types of questions scientists will answer during Nanotechnology – Fact from Fiction. An integral part of this panel is allowing the audience time to engage with the scientists. As such, each panelist will discuss the reality behind nanotechnology-specific pop culture references. Then the real fun begins. Audience members can share their thoughts, questions, and expectations about nanotechnology with the experts.

  • Moderator, Shelah Morita, PhD (Evolutionary Biologist and Policy Analyst at NNCO)
  • Lloyd Whitman, PhD (Assistant Director for Nanotechnology, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy)
  • Michael Meador, PhD (NNCO Director, on loan from NASA Game Changing Technologies)
  • Brian Cullum, PhD (Physics Professor and Nanotechnologist at UMBC)
  • Merrilea J. Mayo, PhD (Technology Innovator and STEM Advocate at Mayo Enterprises, LLC)
  • Scott Edelman (Notable Science Fiction and Comic Book Author)

Click here for nano panelist bios


3D Printing: “Replicating” Success
May 30 at 11:45AM
Panel Description: 
The idea of a machine making what you want, when you want it, is common in science fiction. From The Diamond Age’s matter compilers to Star Trek’s replicators, the future promises the perfect cup of Earl Grey without waiting to heat the water. Scientists working at the cutting-edge of 3D printing technology (a.k.a. additive manufacturing) will discuss the real future possibilities of this science fiction trope. Perhaps we are a long way off from printing an entire being like in The Fifth Element, but 3D printing of organs and tissues for transplant is already under development. Astronauts and soldiers might not be ordering their favorite tea, but field-printed meals ready to eat (MREs), customized to a warfighter's nutritional needs by way of a wearable sensor, are already on the horizon. 

  • Moderator, Mason Peck, PhD (Professor and Researcher of Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University)
  • Lewis Sloter, PhD, PE (Associate Director for Materials & Structures in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering)
  • Nathan Castro (PhD Candidate  at GW’s Lab for Nanomedicine and Tissue Engineering)
  • Jamie Gurganus (PhD Candidate and Associate Director of Engineering Education Initiatives at UMBC)
  • Scott Edelman (Notable Science Fiction and Comic Book Author)

Click here for 3D printing panelist bios