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Jon Senderling, UTD
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U.T. Dallas Signs Agreement on Academic Cooperation With Jilin University in China

RICHARDSON, Texas (Nov. 29, 2001) - The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), one of the fastest growing public institutions of higher learning in the United States, and Jilin University, with 55,000 students the largest educational institution in China, have reached an agreement on academic cooperation in the new millennium, with particular emphasis on the promising field of nanotechnology.

The memorandum of understanding was signed during a 10-day visit to China by a three-person delegation from UTD and a leading Richardson businessman and ardent supporter of UTD. The agreement will serve as a framework for future collaborations between the two universities. UTD and Jilin University hope to begin their new relationship with an exchange of research scientists and students, especially in the burgeoning areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology.

The UTD delegation was at Changchun in Jilin Province earlier this month for the naming of the Chinese university’s new nanotechnology institute in honor of Dr. Alan G. MacDiarmid, the 2000 Nobel laureate in chemistry. MacDiarmid recently joined UTD as distinguished scholar in residence, chairman of the advisory board of UTD’s NanoTech Institute and as special science advisor to UTD President Franklyn G. Jenifer. It was believed to have been the first time a Chinese university had named an important academic and research center for a non-Chinese citizen.

The UTD delegation, which also visited Beijing and Hong Kong during its trip to China, was composed of Dr. Da Hsuan Feng, vice president for research and graduation education and professor of physics; Dr. Ray Baughman, the Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry and director of UTD’s NanoTech Institute; and Dr. Si Qing Zheng, a graduate of Jilin who currently serves as head of telecommunications engineering and professor of electrical engineering at UTD. Jim Von Ehr, chairman and CEO of the Richardson, Texas-based Zyvex Corporation, the first molecular nanotechnology corporation in North America, accompanied the group.

During the UTD delegation’s visit to Changchun, officials of Jilin named Feng a member of the executive board of the new Alan G. MacDiarmid (AGM) Institute, Baughman an honorary professor of chemistry and member of the executive board of the AGM Institute and Von Ehr a guest professor of physics and member of the executive board of the AGM Institute. Zheng had been named a guest professor of physics at Jilin six months earlier.

Feng, who has been a guest professor at Jilin for nearly 10 years and whose relationship with the university goes back more than two decades, expressed delight at the agreement on academic cooperation reached by Jilin and UTD and said, “I am excited to see The University of Texas at Dallas reaching out into the international landscape. Now with Alan MacDiarmid as one of us, I see the potential for more of these kinds of special relationships.”

MacDiarmid has visited Jilin numerous times, and a number of Jilin scientists have worked in MacDiarmid’s laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, where MacDiarmid has been on the faculty for many years. When MacDiarmid won the Nobel Prize in chemistry a year ago, along with Alan Heeger of U.C. Santa Barbara and Hideki Shirakawa of Japan, the president of Jilin University, Zhong-shu Liu, suggested establishing a world-class research facility at Jilin, named after MacDiarmid, that would be devoted to fundamental and applied research in physical and biological sciences, with emphasis on nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology enables the fabrication of material structures and devices having molecular dimensions and entirely new physical or chemical properties as a result of sizes smaller than the wavelength of light. Still in its infancy, nanoscience has the potential to revolutionize such disparate fields as electronics, medicine, communications and manufacturing.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 7,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at

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June 13, 2002