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At the heart of the nanotechnology revolution is a dedicated core of professors, post-docs, grad students, and undergrads.  Make no mistake: nanotechnology is not yet a true commercial endeavor.  Most ongoing work is the result of the many institutionalized laboratories in prestigious universities around the world.

The only exceptional case is IBM.  Research and development at IBM's international labs have contributed two of the most important microscopes and tools in nanotechnology.  There are a handful of other companies who have large amounts of R&D money locked in their budgets for nanotechnology, but it's IBM who really makes the headlines.

Many scientist-historians liken the current state of nanotechnology to the invention of the first solid-state transistor in the mid-20th century.  In a short 50 years, we've seen that invention transform our world into a technologically advanced civilization.  While most nanotechnology researchers are more humble about the implications of their work, the truth is that nanotechnology is going to be the revolution of the 21st century.  That's because nanotechnology represents the first planned revolution in human history. We've seen it coming for the last two decades, and careful roadmaps have been planned out over the following decades.  In another first, almost every physical science is involved with some form of nanotechnology research.  With so much money just flying around from the government, it's hard not to get excited from a research perspective.

One reason why universities have taken the leadership role in nanotechnology research is that only an institution can accept the high costs of equipment and personnel without turning a profit.  Modern semiconductor companies and microchip manufacturers can't afford to devote 100% of their activities toward such expensive research.  Corporations are primarily concerned with maintaining their product lines.  For this reason, many institutions actually work in conjunction with corporate assistance (grants and equipment) in an interesting symbiotic relationship.  Many accounts of institutionalized research have led to patents on intellectual property.  Corporations realize there's lots of money in nanotechnology as well, and it's in their best interest to fund and support universities.

In the following sections, we will discuss all you need to know about nanotechnology and higher education.  We'll cover the important publications, notable institutions and research centers, important people, and different degree programs that are available around the world.