NUANCE Staff Goes on Retreat

NUANCE retreat on July 28th.WILMETTE, IL—Staff of the Northwestern University's Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center (NUANCE) went on a retreat July 28th to reflect on the current and future status of NUANCE in the broader context of science, engineering, and society as a major nanotechnology facility in Midwest.

Prof. Ken Adler discussing the the creation of the metric system.

The retreat, held at the Westmoreland Country Club, opened with breakfast and a presentation by Prof. Ken Alder on the history of science and engineering, particularly the science of the Metric system. Adler is the author of The Measure of All Things: How Tech Standards Came to Rule the World. In his presentation, Prof. Adler spoke on the creation of the metric system, started when French mathematician Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre and French astronomer Pierre Méchain, and others were tasked with the triangulation of France and Spain.

Despite the initial rejection of the metric system by the French government and the errors in measurement discovered later, the metric system became one of the major methods of measurement used today. Prof. Adler used this historical anecdote not only as a narrative of the importance of scientific advancement and the lasting global and economic impact of scientific innovation.

Next, Jay Walsh came to talk to the NUANCE staff about the key drivers of research success for departments and organizations like NUANCE and SHyNE Resource. Walsh is the Vice President of Research at Northwestern University and walked the staff through the Research Ecosystem, which contains all the aspects important to keeping a research program effective. This ecosystem includes talent, space, core facilities, administrative support, collaborations, entrepreneurship, and financial resources.

Jay Walsh discussing methods for research success.
Following lunch, the NUANCE staff went through a hands-on process of Journey Mapping with Kellogg’s Linda Feeney and Elmer Almachar. Journey mapping is a technique to walk staff through the experience of a User in order to create better User satisfaction. Feeney and Almachar helped NUANCE staff learn how to create a better User experience for potential and existing clients of NUANCE research facilities.
NUANCE staff participating in hands-on display of journey mapping.
The retreat closed with a discussion of 3-5 planning with Prof. Vinayak Dravid, Director of NUANCE, calling on staff members to use the knowledge they learned from the sessions to continue to create a better research space at NUANCE for current and new Users.