San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ministry Hosts Month of Science, Technology

NATIONAL Month of Science andTechnology started with a tribute to thecountry’s scientific past this week, and willend with a look at its future.Dr. Rodrigo Gámez, founder and directorof the National Institute of Biodiversity(INBio) and an innovator of biologicalstudies in Costa Rica, was honoredWednesday at an event launching a monthof science- and technology-related conferencesand forums.The events will culminate Aug. 31 withthe opening of Costa Rica’s first nanotechnologylab at the Franklin Chang NationalCenter for High Technology (CENAT), inPavas, a western suburb of San José.NANOTECHNOLOGY is the emergingscience of manufacturing materials ona scale smaller than nanometers – one-millionththe size of a pinhead – to producecharacteristics not usually seen on a largerscale (TT, July 23).The new nanotechnology lab, billed asthe first in Central America, will focus onthe manipulation of carbon nanotubes,which are 100 times stronger than high strengthsteel and one-sixth the density.THE innovations possible with suchtechnology were hardly the topic of sciencefiction when Gámez opened CostaRica’s first virology lab, which in 1977became the Center for Cellular andMolecular Biological Research at theUniversity of Costa Rica.Gámez is also one of the founders of theCouncil for Scientific and TechnologicalResearch (CONICIT)“I don’t know what my best contributionhas been to the people of Costa Rica …Ijust hope somewhere I have done somethingthat has helped,” Gámez said uponbeing recognized this week.OTHER events during Science andTechnology Month include:•Aug. 11, 9 a.m., “Latindex: An instrumentfor the promotion and accreditationof national scientific journals”, a conferenceat CENAT.•Aug. 18, 2-4 p.m., National ScienceAward Conferences, topics include TicoNanotechnology, at CENAT.•Aug. 18, 9 a.m., Forum on bird populationstudies, at INBio in Heredia.•Aug. 19, 10 a.m., Conference on communicationand the environment atCENAT.•Aug. 30, 10 a.m., “Nanotechnology, awide field for the creative mind” a conferenceby U.S. space researcher JeanetteBenavides at CENAT.•Aug. 31, 2 p.m., “Nanotechnology, anideal field for the human, scientific and technologicaldevelopment of Costa Rica’’, aconference by Benavides to inaugurate thenew Nanotechnology, Microsensor, andAdvanced Materials Laboratory at CENAT.FOR more information, contact CENATat 232-3605 or e-mail

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