The University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky are going to get small. But don’t worry; they’re not going to reduce enrollments or indulge in whatever Steve Martin was talking about back in the ’70s. The two universities are collaborating on a nanotechnology effort coordinated by the National Science Foundation. The NSF is investing $84 million in national nanotechnology infrastructure and at least $700,000 of that is going to the UK/U of L collaboration, dubbed Kentucky Multiscale.

Nanotechnology – working with matter on the atomic or molecular scale – is a hot topic these days and increasingly crucial in healthcare, energy, the environment, communication and security, among other fields. The effort will include new facilities, seed programs, intellectual leadership, advanced manufacturing and lifelong learning, including a middle school program called NanoEducate. The national effort includes 26 universities from 15 states, including Harvard, Cornell, Penn, Georgia Tech, Duke and Stanford.