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two in the process was to find somebody to lead the effort. Peccei
says the choice at UCLA was clear: Jim Heath, a rising young star
in nanotechnology. Heath had earned his Ph.D. at Rice University
working with Richard Smalley, Harry Kroto and Bob Curl on the experiment
that earned the latter three the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1996.
He had been at UCLA since 1994, where he has worked on nanotechnology,
quantum dots, artificial solids and the technology that would allow
all these phenomena to be chemically synthesized - grown like a
biological organism, in effect, from the bottom up rather than etched
by computer, as modern silicon technology is, from the top down.
"He's probably the person who has the broadest talents and imagination,"
says Peccei, "and I felt he would provide the necessary scientific
leadership. And when Jim speaks, people listen to him. He was an
UCSB, Heath's counterpart would be Evelyn Hu. Before coming to UCSB
in 1984, Hu worked for 10 years at Bell Laboratories on the science
of nanostructures in superconducting technologies. At UCSB, she
studied semiconductor technology and also worked to understand the
electrical properties of materials at a nanoscale. For the past
six years, as director of a National Science Foundation-funded Science
and Technology Center at UCSB, she had been concentrating on "quantized
electronic structures." While Hu knew Heath by his work and reputation,
she had never met him. The next six months, she says, would turn
out to be an "intense bonding experience."
had our first meeting in the beginning of April with most of the
people who would be involved," says Hu. "The preproposal was due
around the beginning of May, and they would tell us at the end of
June which six of the 11 preproposals had been chosen to go on.
The proposals were then due on October 6, although they originally
told us the beginning of September. That was the time frame we had
to work with."
next three months would be spent writing and traveling. Their preproposal
was among the final six chosen, but it had to be dramatically expanded
and honed. The reviewers also had doubts about whether Heath and
Hu had sufficient administrative experience to deal with a multi-hundred-million-dollar
institute, as the CNSI would be. As a result, says Peccei, it was
decided to seek an administrator from outside of the institutions.
The choice was Martha Krebs, a physicist who was running the Office
of Science in the Department of Energy, which meant, among other
things, that she oversaw the DOE's national laboratory system. Peccei
had known Krebs for years, and when he asked her to be the administrative
director of the CNSI, she readily agreed.