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>>Molecular engineering is the study of how systems behave at the molecular level.
So it's not just one molecule, but it's how you group them
into ensembles to achieve a given purpose.
We do this every day in our lives and as living beings and we've taken great lessons
from biology, but also from physical sciences we've now learned enough
about molecular behavior to actually group systems together to achieve purposes
in functional materials; noise of scavenging energy, purifying water.
The ability to design these for the first time is upon us.
So my involvement with molecular engineering began in late 2006 when I was asked
by President Zimmer and Provost Rosenbaum to chair the faculty committee on this topic.
Chicago has a great tradition of faculty deciding the great new directions of university
and this is certainly a case like that.
The faculty committee was brought together from physical sciences, the biological sciences,
the medical school, and the idea was to find themes
that would make great opportunities apparent for the university
and for great intellectual leaps in the future.
So at Chicago, we have not had really engineering here since inception.
There's certainly been pockets of it and a lot of its being done today at certain points
and again, the medical school, biological and physical divisions,
but we don't really have an ingathering where this is done under one roof
in an integrated and focused manner.
So the transformative thing for the university is that we're going to be able
to define a new field as it is forming.
We have adjacencies in our current strengths in those fields already in place and the ability
to take the science that we develop here into more applied directions
with molecular engineering and moreover, the devices that people make
in molecular engineering will allow our basic researchers to make fundamental discoveries.
There's going to be a great impact on education at the university.
A new cohort of students are going to come to the university who are still going
to take the core, they're going to be very interested in what we do but over time,
they're going to bring new directions to what we do and how we study things the renew interest
in the engineering sciences and I think that's going to be very important.
We're going to educate our current students in new ways and we're going to bring in students
who otherwise would elect to not come to Chicago.