Archive for the ‘Week1_TwoCultures’ Category

Extra Credit: (Week 10) by Jessica Amaya

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

On Thursday of the tenth week, we had a final speech as an ending to the class. It was great to see how everything we have talked about in class has been integrated in society not just now, but in the past as well. Seeing how Michael Century broke down the time periods into waves gave me a huge shock that art, science and technology are more entwined than I had come to accept.  The time periods he talked about were the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and Modern times. To each of these he gave a brief description to what they represent. For Middle Ages he gave the word compartmentalization and its description included “little contact between theory and practice”. The Renaissancewas described as a time for hybrids systems, social fluidity and “close interaction between theory and practice, human contact between artist and scientist”. To this description he gave the word decompartmentalization. Lastly, for Modern times Mr. Century gave the word recompartmentalization and described it as a time for dualism and specialization.  To further add to his analysis of time periods he enclosed the Middle Ages and the Modern times into boxes to represent stability while the Renaissance period was enclosed in  a jaggedshaped object to represent the mixing and coming together of two "distinct" ideas, He, Michael Century, called the threshold. He gave examples of what people in the time of the threshold would do. For example they would have interdisciplinary meeting places, where people like engineers, instrument makers and artist would meet and talk and share their points of view. These groups of mixed field practitioners would often be associated with the term "hunting in packs", because they had a variety of people who wished to join their fields together and have the rest of the people see them and get to know their idea to undue or lessen the division between the fields.  Towards the end Michael Century went on to describe the times we live in today and gave a jagged frame to enclose today’s present time. He said we are in another threshold named the information age and that we are unsure what comes next. He hypothesized that the next stability period might be the political age… To end his marvelous speech he showed various works in which included John Whitney and Oscar Schlemmer. The final thing I wrote down into my notes was a question Mr. Century introduced to us. "What will happen when Bio-tech tools become accessible to the public?" A question discussed by Freeman Dyson in his literary piece titled " Our Biotech Future". This question made me think of a dark future, but maybe its just because I’m not to positive when it comes ot Biotechnology.


-Jessica Amaya

Particle Sniffer/ Nanotechnology(extra credit)- Joshua Wilson

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

We are in an era where Nanotechnology seems to be taking a position. The use of Nanotechnology is becoming more and more apparent, and predictions show that it will be the technology mostly used by the upcoming generations. The lecture on Thursday March 14, 2009, by Ricardo Dominguez titled “Sounding out the Matter Market” was interesting and used Nanotechnology. In this lecture, Ricardo Dominguez presented a new technology that used nanotechnology called Particle Sniffer. Also during this lecture, Ricardo showed a video and also played music that showed and illustrated the sounds of the particle sniffer. The video showed a situation where a person walked through numerous particle sniffers, and as they walked through the particle sniffer created a type of noise that seem hostile.  Ricardo also pointed out that the particle sniffer was put into several college campuses, and most banded them due to the hostile environments that college students reported. Ricardo also mentioned that many museums tried the particle sniffer but rejected it and many societies banded it, but it is still on UCLA campus. The particle sniffer is also used in airports for security reasons.

I found this lecture to be somewhat interesting, but the lecture provided not as much writable information that I can use to blog about. But what I took from it more so besides how the particle sniffer creates a hostile environment, I saw works of Nanotechnology. The idea that things will be operated on a Nano scale is pretty amazing. Things will be more efficient, smaller, and better quality.  An article by Zyvex quotes “In the future, nanotechnology will let us take off the boxing gloves. We’ll be able to snap together the fundamental building blocks of nature easily, inexpensively and in most of the ways permitted by the laws of physics. This will be essential if we are to continue the revolution in computer hardware beyond about the next decade, and will also let us fabricate an entire new generation of products that are cleaner, stronger, lighter, and more precise”. Here we see the great impact that nanotechnology will have on America in the near future. Just think how much our everyday lives would become easier through the usage of Nanotechnology. For example, just substituting the brains that operate our computers, nanotechnology will make the computers smaller. Nanotechnology will also help in finding cures for cancer and other diseases that are incurable.

As Ricardo expressed through out his lecture, the use of nanotechnology is progressively increasing. A quote by David Rejeski “Debate began in earnest on changes to federal toxics law last month as the House consumer protection subcommittee held its first hearing of the new Congress on the need to update the law. How one defines what changes need to be made to the law can differ - whether the person represents the chemical industry, an environmental organization or a host of other interests - but there was unanimous consent among the panel testifying that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) needs changes. This is a major step forward in efforts to provide better oversight of nanotechnology” sums up the progress dealing with congress on the topic “Nanotechnology”. So the full potential of Nanotechnology is all most here.

Joshua Wilson

Week 9: Nanotechnology- A Clear Ally by Leslie Grant

Monday, March 9th, 2009

It is fascinating to see how history continually repeats itself. Society always exhibits skepticism about the unfamiliar, even when there is no evidence to serve as justification for such wariness. Nanotechnology is currently in that stage, being looked upon as a possible evil due to mere uncertainty about some of its components. Had this been only a few weeks earlier I would not have even contemplated the way in which people view nanotechnology, but then last Thursday’s lecture presented me with the shockingly high percentage of people who are opposed to nanotechnology in spite of the fact that they do not truly understand it. I truly enjoyed listening to Professor Professor James Gimzewski speak about his work in nanotechnology last week, as I desired to gain a greater understanding of the developing field, and I found that listening to him speak about the various aspects with such passion was much more engaging than independent study would have been.
One topic in particular grabbed my attention immediately- the discussion of Fullerenes, also known as “buckyballs,” as a part of nanotechnology. The chemistry courses I have been enrolled in for the past two quarters was definitely linked to my excitement, as the molecule C60 has been discussed on a minimal level during both quarters and I enjoy learning about the relevance of chemicals and chemical properties in a context other than that of chemistry class. Admittedly, another aspect of the molecule that fascinated me was the fact that in the times prior to its discovery there was architecture being built as a sort of predictive representation of what we were going to discover in future years, with the geodesic Montreal Biosphere created by Buckminster Fuller in 1967 obviously serving as the primary example. As a sort of testament to his insightful creation, you can see that the buckyball is illustrated on his tombstone.


While others such as Eiji Osawa of the Toyohashi University of Technology speculated on the possibility of such a molecule by using actual chemical evidence and not merely observing the representative structures, it is hard to believe that the work of architects to create vast and glorious representations of these C60 chemical played no part in helping to inspire the research on it. [Not] surprisingly, this leads back to the topic of the class, showing how something can start off as a representation of art and become a major aspect of the science world or vice versa. Professor Gimzewski juxtaposed the connectivity of both art and science to nanotechnology quite well. I was extremely impressed by nanobama, so much so that I visited the Nanobliss website on my own in order to take another look at what other works of art have thus far been created with this technology. Viewing these creations made me curious about what natural wonders I have been missing out on just by being on the macroscopic level. Below is one of the many samples of the works of art put together by John Hart and his team, more can be viewed by visiting this site:

A great example of nanoart.

A great example of nanoart.

Nanobliss is just one of the examples of scientific art in this field, with the strides being made on the side of pure science being just as mind-blowing. I still cannot get over the possibility of a space elevator which would utilize high-tensile carbon cables in order to operate. About a year or two ago I had previously research the capabilities of a space elevator, so I was already familiar with the magnitude of such an invention, but now that I have a greater understanding of nanotechnology and its vital role in such an endeavor, I hold a greater appreciation for it and do not see it as quite so far-fetched.
Clearly, those who are unsupportive of nanotechnology are ignorant [of its capabilities, of course] and need to do some research about the ways in which it can benefit society in future years. I look forward to seeing the progression of this technology, and hope to see some collaboration between the art and science aspects in the future.

~Leslie Grant

Nanotechnology- Joshua Wilson

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

This week in lecture and lecture outside of this class for extra credit all involved topics that provided a lot of information. The topic nanotechnology that was discussed in lecture creates a new approach when dealing with technology. Nanotechnology will have a great impact on the next generations. If we look at nanotechnology in a chemistry sense, it is  where something is squeezed so small that the electrons has very little room to rotate, which gives the element higher energy. This is called, quantum confinement. Thus, this creates new ways of operating machinery, finding new designs for computer chips etc. Updates on nanotechnology today, at the Nano scale, scientist have been able to create machines on the Nano level. The definition for Nanotech is the study of the control of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. The future of nanotechnology foreshadows new creations with devices and materials. It has also been heard that this will affect medicine, electronics, energy production, and filtering.

In lecture on Thursday, the guess speaker mentioned how Nanotechnology may be used to reduce stress. That was interesting because humans face stress very often and most of the time it may cause diseases, and create problems. I read somewhere that nanotechnology will be able to decrease the chances of heart attack, and may even find a cure to heart attacks. If everything work on a nano scale, things would be more efficient, less weight, easier to work with, long lasting, and safer.  This new technology will benefit societies, and the manufacturing industry as a whole. From this new way of creating technology, sales and profits will go up, jobs may increase, and life as a whole may seem a bit less stressful and more productive. I believe Nanotechnology will give us a new way of approaching cancer and diseases that are not curable in today’s society.

Nanotechnology in some way or another encompasses every subject discussed in class which in tells that it will have an impact on all aspects of life. As I have looked through articles and heard the lectures on Nanotechnology, they have all described benefits from nanotechnology; But what about the bad? Can nanotechnology have a horrible impact on the environment? It appears as human advance in technology by either getting smaller or bigger, we tend to hurt the earth in some way or another. Creating new technology in return may be the human race best invention and worse.

The guess speaker also spoke on creativity and how there are endless possibilities with nanotechnology. But in such a world with around six billion people, creativity becomes pretty common and less excepted by the general population. Creativity that would benefit people as a whole is an idea that the world would be able to benefit from incorporating Nanotechnology. I sit and think of new inventions in my head everyday that work well with nanotechnology, but sooner or later I see on TV that someone has already thought of that idea or something similar.

Joshua Wilson





Week 9 / Nanotechnology / Justin Kiang

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

When I heard that Professor James Gimzewsk was coming to give a talk on Thursday, I was very excited.  He taught one of my Chemistry class in my first year, and I find him to be a very great speaker.  On top of that, I always have a great interest in nanotechnology.  I find it fascinating that science development in such a minute scale, can have such a great impact on the well-being of human, and even the envioronment.

One specific field of nanotechnology I am especially interested in is nanomedicine.  Nanomedicine is the application of nanotechnology in the field of medicine, as its name suggests.  The approach of applying nanotechnology in medicine is very diversified, ranging from using nanoparticle for drug delivery, to nanoelectrons for sensing purpose.

One particular example of the application of nanonology on medicine is cancer detection and treatment.  When nanoelectrons are used in junction with MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), image of tumor sites can be produced at a very high resolution, rendering much easier detection of early stage cancer, as cancerous cells can be more easily distinguished from healthy cells.  Once cancerous cells are being detected, nanoparticles can be used to perform targeted drug delivery.  The three steps of nanoparticle drug delivery consists of: 1. Encapsulating drugs in nano particle.  2. Utilizing the targeting technology of nano particles to delivery said drugs into targeted region of the body.  3. Releasing the drug from the nano particle.  Another technique is to deliver gold coated nano particles shells that would bond to the cancerous tumor.  Infrared beams can then be radiated through the flesh without heating it, and the beams can heat the gold coated nano particles up, enough to efficiently kill the cancerous tumor.
Another application of nanotechnology is to achieve more efficient energy production.  Taking advantage of the small size of nano particles, a solar pannel can pack more solor cell within.  Scientists believe that the creation of more efficient solar panel, can help to feed the global power consumption, and relieve the energy crisis we face
By Justin Kiang

Week 9 Blog _ Nanoart _ Sarah Van Cleve

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Christian Orfescu is a material scientist who runs the analytical laboratory at Caleb Technology in Torrance, California. By day he researches nanotechnology looking for ways to create more efficient lithium batteries, yet in his time off the job he uses art to inform people about the new technologies of the Twenty-First Century. The inspiration for Cris Orfescu’s art comes from the molecular landscapes, measured on the nanometer scale, of various materials. He is so inspired by these images that he calls his work “nanoart” and in 2006 he started organizing competitions for artists with similar ideas.

These nanoart artists are confronted with quite a hurdle when trying to illustrate the realm of nanotechnology (defined as materials that have dimensions of one hundred nanometers or less). Because nanomaterials can be more than one hundred thousandth of the size of the head of a pin, these materials are impossible to photograph. The image below exemplifies the size of the smaller than microscopic nanomaterials, which the artists are trying to recreate. To get any sort of image of these tiny substances one must use scanning electron microscopes. Even with this technology the images can only be portrayed in the color gray. While some see this as a limitation, Cris Orfescu believes this allows the nanoart artists to let their creativity shape how we see science. Mr. Orfescu admits that his interpretations of nanotechnology are not works of science but he believes they can do a better job at attracting attention to the subject: “With more than 70 percent of the people in the U.S. using products incorporating nanotechnology, I want people to know about it and I hope my art stirs their curiosity to find out more.”


For an example of nanoart see the image below. In this work called “Black Eye NanoOctopus” the artist created a nanosculpture by hydrolyzing a tiny drop of a titanium organometallic compound and coating the structure with gold so that it could be best visualized with a scanning electron microscope. The gray colored electron scan was then painted and digitally manipulated before the final image was put on canvas.


Like Cris Orfescu most nanoartists have a strong passion for the field of nanotechnology itself, but they simply use “the other culture” of art to get through to the public. As put by another nanoart artist, Darcy Lewis, “Nanotechnology will dramatically reshape our lives, with amazing medical and economic benefits, however, we must strive to focus on its unimaginable positive benefits, and curtail the weapons and negative applications it can also be used for.” It’s clear that the development of the new science of nanotechnology will undoubtedly lead to great new technologies—nanoarts are simply trying to spread this message with an innovative mix of science and vision.

By: Sarah Van Cleve

Week 9 - Nanotechnology - Shanpeng Li

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Nanotechnology is currently a very advanced field being researched on extensively. This week’s lecture focus on nanotechnology brought on a topic that I am not very familiar to but very curious about. As mentioned by Professor James Gimzewski, nanotechnology can be applied to countless diverse fields; all it takes is significant amount of research and development. Future implications of nanotechnologies include fields such as electronics and energy productions but in my opinion the field that nanotechnology will contribute the most breakthroughs is in medicine.

Nanomedicine is the term used to refer to the application of nanotechnology in medicine. Numerous scientists have already come up with different usages of nanotechnology in medicine such as drug delivery and cancer treatment. Drug delivery currently suffers a major downfall and that is the fact most of the drugs administered to the patient do not end up in the wanted location and instead remains in the body. More than $65 billion a year are being wasted due to the poor delivery of drugs and the low availability in the targeted areas. One of the goals of nanomedicine is to create nanoscale molecular particles that can drastically improve the availability of the drug in targeted locations as shown in this video. (Drug Delivery) These particles will be specifically engineered to target certain type of molecules and deliver drugs with cellular precision. In my opinion, this concept will become a major breakthrough in the medical field saving massive amount of money each year which can then be used on other fields of research. Another area where nanotechnology can benefit medicine is the field of 3D imaging in the body. Most of the current imaging technology such as CT and MRI requires contrast materials injected into the patient in order to obtain a clear image. However if nanoengineered contrast materials are developed and used, these imaging technology can produce much higher definition images and thus allowing doctors to visualize where the problem lies.

Another very crucial area of medicine that nanotechnology can provide needed assistance is in the field of cancer treatment. With nanoparticles specifically targeted at the tumor or cancerous area, clear cut images of the location of the tumor can be produced which allows for a more precise treatment. Also one aspect of cancer treatment today is that surgeons often cut more than the cancerous area which results in the loss of healthy tissue. Nanotechnology can be used to create nanoparticles that target the specific tumor and attack it without damaging the nearby tissues. The future of nanomedicine in the cancer field has unimaginable possibilities. In my opinion, the creation of a nanoparticle that is capable of reaching a specified tumor area and treating it at the same time will be the most groundbreaking discovery in the coming future.

Nanotechnology is the new advanced topic that should be researched extensively. The benefits and possibilities it can bring into our society are very crucial to our future. Applications of nanotechnology into fields such as electronics and medicine are the perfect example of the fusion between art and science. Just like Professor James Gimzewski mentioned in his lecture, scientists often cannot think beyond their restrained thoughts to create something more appealing and advanced. It requires the combinations of artists and scientists to truly create a breakthrough project.

-Shanpeng Li

Nicolas Nelson Sec1A, Week 9

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

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Nicolas Nelson Sec1A, Week 9

I don’t believe we were meant to do a Week 9 blog since we had a week to finish our midterm and there isn’t a category for it on the site, but I’ll do this anyway since it’s usually a good idea to be safer than sorrier.

Although I already typed an extra credit blog about nanotechnology and the caution that must be taken in manufacturing products on the safety seminar last week, this time we were provided with a broader run of topics to discuss.

But first I’ll take this opportunity to expand on something I was pondering during the aforementioned lecture that I forgot to blog about: the gold-refining process. The speaker gave what appeared to be a scrupulous description of the purification of gold, and its extraction from compounds where it would be negligibly trace to the naked eye until a fraction of a percent is saved each time, summated, and converged into a homogenous, sizable nugget. In reality, however, I’m sure that the entire, intricate processes displayed on the projector were merely a fraction of the nuances actually involved. Nonetheless, he made his point: some nanoparticle was hypothesized to slice the resources consumed to a minimum, simplifying the process of producing this yield of aurum. What interested me, however, is the direct parallel to alchemy. Modern western men of science consider the practices of alchemy and astrology to be quackery, but for all its foolishness and lack of foundation, we’re not using nanotechnology to extract a golden profit from a material that otherwise for all purposes was blatantly not gold. Stars, as it turns out, actually do have a greater role in our destinies as implied by modern quantum physics and astrology. Long story short, humanity has been rewriting this short story for a long time. The cycle of science claims that all precedents to newer, all-encapsulating theories are false, though “the reality” at their time. As our ability to see farther and farther down increases—as the powers of ten plummet into the negatives in what we can see and manipulate and discover—our knowledge of the great universe expands, and we need these newer theories to capture all that the old ones did, minus some reparations, as well as the new information. Our obsessive quest for the an explanation of life and purpose compels drastic endeavors in any field—the search for the “theory of everything” in science, the production of tinier and tinier robots in technology, the making of an entirely original (if that’s at all possible) work or method or philosophy of art, etc., etc., etc.

Now that that rant is over, I’ll move on to the tiny, quantum, Heinsberg-demolished abacus. I thought it was fascinating how something so miniscule—so wavelike—that its form arose not from matter but the probability of finding matter. My friend next to me was amused at the painstaking effort squeezed into this tiny, quite transient novelty—the world’s smallest calculator. He said that the technology discussed was not nanotechnology—that the molecules used to create the calculator existed before we could observe them. I argued that that was exactly the point; without perceiving them, we cannot hope to manipulate them in precision and witness the results. So he reminded me that there was once a field called microtechnology; we’re only dropping by powers of ten, not reinventing the atom. He chuckled and said that one day future students could be sitting in this lecture hall hearing about angstromtechnology. Not quite so cleverly, I expanded (although strictly speaking I suppose I actually contracted it) the metaphor into planck-length-technology. Who knows?

The past few weeks of lecture and the research for my final project keep igniting this recurring theme in my head: is there an asymptote to science, technology, and art that we will not be able to cross—where the speed of light, quantization of space, and depletion of new ideas prohibit any further vanishing point motion of advancement? If so, when? More importantly, will there be a point in living beyond that time?

week 8 nanotechnology

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

NanoTechnology is a new emerging field in the world today.  Nano-tech is ever-present in today’s society.  Nano-Tech is used today to clean oil off of oceans and to help solve pollution problems.  Nanotechnology is also used to create cpu’s and microprocessors.  This field holds a lot of promise for art in the world today.  Art done at that level will create a whole new realm of beauty for artists today to delve into.

The field of technology has the capacity for many unique structures. A new ice structure recently discovered seems to help seed clouds and cause rain. The ability to modify molecules and create unique structures out of them seems to be untapped. It would be interesting for a painter to be able to create a painting on the molecular level. The interesting part of this painting would be that it would have to be viewed using an electron microscope. The idea of work being done on the molecular level is similar to the idea of space. This universe is a perspective that is difficult for humans to visualize and requires special tools for us to see. This nanotechnology has inspired many works of literature as well. Books such as the shrinking man deal with people who enter a new world.

Week 9 _ Nanotechnology

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Honestly, I didn’t really know what “nanotechnology” was before this class. However, since Professor Vesna’s covers so much about this topic in her class, I finally felt inclined to search it up. Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale of size 100 nanometers or smaller.  I think it’s a fairly new field, so there is a lot of potential for growth.  Not only that, it can be utilized in diverse and flexible ways from conventional devices, such as curling irons, to high-tech gadgets to medicine.

Regents Professor Zhong Lin Wang and other nanotechnology researchers from Georgia Tech recently developed a “power shirt” with the ability to generate electricity from the wearer’s physical movement and use that energy to charge small electronic devices, like a cell phone.   What makes this possible is a microfiber nanogenerator that is composed of two fibers.  When those two fibers rub together, it can generate a small electrical current that would be harvested for energy.  This microfiber nanogenerator would potentially be woven into garments or even curtains or tents, where the energy could come from wind motion.  . Combining current flow from many fiber pairs woven into a shirt or jacket could allow the wearer’s body movement to power a range of portable electronic devices. The fibers could also be woven into curtains, tents or other structures to capture energy from wind motion.

Another invention made possible by nanotech is the Nokia handset that can detect diseases.  Developed by the Applied Nanodetectors Ltd., the cell phone contains a nanotech chip with sensors that can identify certain gases, such as CO2, nitric oxide and ammonia, that build up within the body depending on the condition.  Using the emitted breath of users, the nanochip detector would be able to determine if a person was suffering from, say, asthma and communicate that quickly through simple red and green symbols and texts.  If condition was marked positive, developers say, the handset would immediately notify the user’s doctor.    read more here:


Considering these inventions are still merely prototypes, I am pretty impressed. Nanotechnology not only allows for things to be made smaller and lighter, it allows for things to be more widely accessible to the general public. 

Seeing as how our class, as a whole, deals with the fusion of art and science, I think it is appropriate to end this quarter with the topic of nanotechnology, because this field is pretty much the epitome of art, science and technology.  Moreover, it is a field in which Professor Vesna is very involved and so, there is a lot of interesting and fun stuff that she can share with us.  I was particularly fascinated by her zero@wavefunction exhibit, where audience members were able to manipulate third carbon molecule projections on the wall with their shadows.  The idea that something as intangible as one’s shadow can interact with projections on the wall is quite an imaginative feat.