Teaching Science Like Dr. Seuss
The center will provide a Web-based resource for independent learners who can track advances in the technology from the comforts of their own computers. In addition, K-12 teachers and students will be able to tap into a Web site to keep current on the research, discover opportunities to attend workshops and learn about the types of careers to which young students can aspire.
"We develop information technology, we make use of existing information technology and we implement a lot of new technology," Dalton says. "Web-based interaction and training will get faster and more real-time interactive as we go. Someone in first grade could eventually come in and get some basic knowledge about how electronics and photonics talk to each other. It could be like a Dr. Seuss novel."
Dalton says he's received hundreds of e-mails from high school students from all over the country, students who normally might attend Harvard, Yale or Stanford, but who are intrigued about UW thanks to an article in a newspaper or magazine or a visit to Dalton's student-run Web site http://www.depts.washington.edu/eooptic.
Photo by Miquel Khoury, courtesty Microvision.
"The number of Web site hits has been incredible, but I've learned that students pay more attention to the Web site than anything else," Dalton says. "As a freshman chemistry teacher, I've used class announcements and memos to announce changes in an exam date. But if I didn't put it on the Web site, inevitably some students would miss the announcement."
An internationally noted speaker, Dalton also keeps busy on the banquet and seminar circuit. He will kick off the NSF's Distinguished Lecture Series in September in Washington, D.C., offering the first of eight NSF lectures per year that represent research breakthroughs in America. Earlier this year he was invited to speak before the Select Committee on Science and Technology of the British House of Lords.
While Dalton says that the attention he has received for his past work is gratifying, it is the work that's yet to come that keeps him continually striving for the next discovery.
"Just as with anyone who has a dream, I went to college to find the areas in life I would be interested in," he says. "We all started out with widely unconnected disciplines-law, business, engineering, arts and sciences and medicine. Now they are constantly interacting and integrated, and they are doing so more and more every day. Information technology has made the world a much smaller place." Scott Holter is a Seattle free-lancer who also wrote "Fatal Inheritance," a June 2002 article on pancreatic cancer research.