In 1959, renowned physicist Richard Feynman delivered a prophetic talk to colleagues. He pointed out that no law of nature exists that can prevent scientists from manipulating individual atoms and making almost any product imaginable. It was a bold prediction filled with mind-boggling applications ripped straight from the pages of a science fiction novel.
Now, half a century after Feynman’s forecasts, these science fiction conceits are fast becoming scientific fact. And it’s all the result of scientists’ meticulous investigations into the nanoworld—the atomic realm where distances are measured in billionths of a meter. What we’ve discovered at the nanoscale has sparked an ever-expanding technological revolution—one that will continue to touch nearly every aspect of human life and will fast become a game-changer in many fields, including.
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- engineering, where experiments in materials science will deliver new materials with spectacular properties;
- communications, where computers are quickly becoming smaller and more powerful than ever before; and
- medicine, where new technologies can soon help doctors target and treat diseases and illnesses that traditional medical tools can’t touch.
In fact, you can already witness the startling power of nanotechnology in once-fantastical but now-possible tools, products, and services such as these:
- Smartphones: These ubiquitous devices add a multitude of features to a mobile phone, including a web browser, camera, media player, GPS unit, and energy-dense battery.
- Nano-packaged drugs: Synthetic nanostructures such as liposomes can deliver medication directly to diseased cells, avoiding damage to healthy tissues.
- Gold nanoparticles: Uniquely useful, nano-size particles of gold have applications ranging from inexpensive pregnancy tests to pathogen-killing treatments.
These and countless other developments are made possible by new techniques that operate at an inconceivably tiny scale. The nanoworld has now become a workshop for chemists, biologists, physicists, and engineers as they collaborate to create a flood of innovations that are defining 21st-century technology.
Two prominent specialists team up to explore this exciting new frontier in Introduction to Nanotechnology: The New Science of Small. In 24 accessible and visually rich half-hour lectures, you get an in-depth explanation of nanotechnology and how it is possible to work in a domain that is nine orders of magnitude smaller than humans—comparable to the difference in scale between you and the sun.
Your guides are Professors Ted Sargent and Shana Kelley of the University of Toronto. One is an electrical engineer, the other a biochemist. Both are dynamic researchers, inventors, and entrepreneurs at the forefront of this amazing interdisciplinary effort.
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