Think Nano, Act Global

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Given the spirited reputation of its host cities—jazzy, festive Montreal in summertime and bacchanalian, beer-drenched Munich in autumn—it is fitting that the Junior Nanotech Network was born over a shared drink, or two, at a Venice café. “Maybe it was the result of having one bottle of wine too many,” jokes Peter Grütter, James McGill Professor of Physics and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education at McGill’s Faculty of Science, recalling his 2005 Venetian discussion with Professor Hermann Gaub, Chair of Applied Physics at Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität.

It turns out that Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Germany’s second-largest university, was interested in launching a nanoscience PhD student exchange program. “I suggested that if they came to McGill, students could host each other in their apartments and homes,” says Grütter, “and it worked.”