Tech graduate receives world’s first degree in nanosystems

August 31, 2007

by Sarah Carmichael

After graduating from Tech this spring, Josh Brown became the first person in the world to receive a bachelor’s degree in nanosystems engineering.

The nanosystems degree was originally approved in February 2005 by the Board of Regents and is a program only offered at Tech.

Brown, who graduated with a double major in nanosystems and electrical engineering, is continuing his education at Tech and is currently working on his doctorate degree in micro-nanotechnology engineering.

Tech President Dan Reneau said he is very proud of Brown.

“He’s obviously a talented young man,” Reneau said. “He will always hold the distinction of being the first person ever to hold this degree.”

Reneau said Brown was recognized by Senator Robert Kostelka of Monroe in the Louisiana Senate Chamber in Baton Rouge Tuesday.

Kostelka said he had the resolution signed and ready to present to Brown weeks before it was presented to the Senate.

“My plan is to suspend the rules and let President Reneau talk to the Senate,” Kostelka said.

Reneau said this accomplishment will only do great things for Tech in the future.

“We have had plenty of positive publicity from Brown graduating,” Reneau said, “It certainly gives us an opportunity to grow and creates a positive attitude towards Tech.”

Brown is the co-creator of a nanocatalyst which converts natural gas, gasified coal and biomass into synthetic liquid fuel.

Stan Napper, dean of the College of Engineering and Sciences, said Brown was always an enthusiastic and eager student.

Brown said the driving forces in his life have always been his desire to better humanity and to represent his family to the best of his abilities.

“I don’t know if life could get much better,” Brown said.

In June 2006, Small Times, a magazine that focuses on news in micro and nanotechnology, ranked Tech as the third best institution in the United States in micro and nano education.

Most recently in the May 2007 issue of Small Times, Tech was ranked 10th in commercializing nanotechnology.

According to the National Nanotechnology Initiative, there are currently an estimated 20,000 researchers working in nanotechnology worldwide.

The National Science Foundation expects within the next 15 years to have millions of nanotechnology researchers.

“[Nanotechnology] is a rapidly growing field because it will have applications in all types of areas like manufacturing, electronics, developing new materials and aerospace, to name a few,” Napper, said.

Paul King, a senior mechanical engineering student, said the future is looking exciting for Tech and its students.

“I think being the first in anything is pretty huge,” King said.

“It’s something we’ll always be able to point back to and that’s pretty important.”