Archive for the ‘Week9_Nano’ Category

extra credit — Beatriz da Costa : Invisible Earthlings—-shiyang zheng

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Before attending the exhibition of invisible earthlings, I could never image how small things–microbes could change our life dramatically. In this exhibition, the microbes such as staphylococcus and bacillus are shown. For instance, staphylococcus usually resides on skin. If you don’t wash your hand, staphylococcus might spread toxin that commonly causes food poison. There are many other kinds of microbes that locate at bench, gate, and anywhere surround our living environment. They might cause deadly diseases, and also benefits for your physical health. However, most people have some vague notion about the importance of microbes in our ecosystems, microbes commonly only receive our attention when they are perceived to cause problems.

773px-staphylococcus_aureus_01                                                                                      photo of  staphylococcus


photo-15                             microbes sample on the table; touchscreen on the top, which tell you the information about the microbes: location, disease, structure etc

photo-16                             photo of microbes


                             exhibition room!

The role of microbes in our ecosystem remains the butterfly effect and chaos theory. Small variations of the initial condition  of a daynamical system may produce large variations in the long-term behavior of the system. We are living in the world of randomness. Because there are so many thing is unpredictable due to the lack of knowledge and science. The weather was unpredictable in the past, and was believed as superposition.   The weather is now predictable because of technology and science, because we understand the reason and the theory behind randomness.  I realized how important we should keep our room clean and tidy. If I have another project, I would be interested in developing a tool to detect and clean the microbes that is harmful to our human body, and fosters those are beneficial to our health. 


extra credit ” LINDA WEINTRAUB” —-shiyang zheng

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

A new view of the meaning of beauty was presented by LINDA WEINTRAUB, who is an artist, curator, educator, and the author of Avant-Guardians. Instead of focusing on virtual beauty such as painting, Linda introduced imaginary beauty, elevated the meaning of beauty to a new level, a new field of study. What is imaginary beauty? Different from virtual beauty, Imaginary beauty concerns on the association of the object, but the material appearance.

In 1960, an artist called Sophia did an interesting survey about the meaning of the beauty. She asked the blind people in hospital, what is beauty? Some said the sea, because is peaceful and relaxing. Some said forest, because it is refreshing. Amazingly, the beauty even connects to blind people. The blind can’t see the world, however, they can sense beauty, and associate their spiritual world with beauty. The association can also be something cultural and traditional.

Personally, I very agree Linda’s imaginary view of beauty. Today, the beauty is no longer purely virtual satisfaction. We sense beauty from ears, nose, skin, and more importantly — our feeling. In many art exhibitions today, there are more and more abstract art associates with imaginary beauty. For example:abstract-art-41


What are they? It’s very hard to understand, because the pattern is unclear and well structured.  But you will get a certain impression that associates with certain feeling or emotion. In order to understand, you need to open your imagination/ associates with your life experience etc. Abstract art is the art between you and artwork, it depends how you communicate with it. Therefore, there is no certain/right answer in this kind of format of presentation.

The abstract art is the art in 19th and 20th century. The art today is still abstract but more applicable such as propagation of environmental protection. Linda then starts to explain the relation between beauty of ecology system and human. In her opinion, the beauty defines your relationship between you and the world. , What does beauty look like when it relates to ecology system, environment issue, how many ways of the beauty can be presented? She mentioned an artist Andy Goldsworthy using natural materials and all by hands for his artworks. He demonstrates how we could protect our environment at the same time make it beautiful. The other artist Denial Charles, his art works are sharp and disgusted. His show of human death is ugly. However, he successfully evokes public response and understanding of the importance of beauty, the importance to cherish the earth and life.


“Ecological concepts of continuity and interdependence are renegade forces. They not only transform existing patterns of material consumption and production, they destabilize social values and disrupt aesthetic conventions. Even the notion of beauty is overhauled by the ecological mandate to embrace all aspects of the life cycle – decay as well as growth. Artists who demonstrate radical beauty are renegade aestheticists. They demonstrate that the greening of society depends as much upon revising human values as reforming human behaviors.”


Extra Credit: My (Last Post and) Take on the Modes of Interdisciplinarity in Art and Techno-science by Ryan Andre Magsino

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Extra Credit: My (Last Post and) Take on the Modes of Interdisciplinarity in Art and Techno-science by Ryan Andre Magsino

What better way to wrap the course than with none other than Michael Century, Professor of New Media and Music in the Arts Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Professor Century spoke of the Modes of Interdisciplinarity in Art and Techno-science. His first point of emphasis was on the historical horizons between the integration of science and technology.

Professor Michael Century (on the right)

Professor Michael Century (on the right)

According to Professor Century, there were two alternating modes of Interdisciplinarity, stability and threshold. Periods of stability referred to eras in which there were little to no contact between scientists and artists whereas periods of threshold were quite the opposite and even included hybrids among occupational spectrums. Such hybrids were discovered in the peak of the threshold periods. Two recent threshold periods would be the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution to present. In the peak of the Renaissance, intellectual scientists such as the likes of Leonardo da Vinci were highly acclaimed especially during their time. Nowadays we pay homage to the multitudes of genius and hardworking intellectual scientists in recent times such as Einstein. Meanwhile, the eras of stability were the periods of time before and after the threshold periods. Historically initiated by the rise of subjective morality and the unregulated (and sometimes unethical) advancement of science, periods of stability stunted were times in which the two cultures were split apart; and in most cases, the scientists were shunned from their passion.

Making sense of Professor Century’s Reasoning
Stability (Middle Ages) à Threshold (Renaissance) à Stability (Modern) à Threshold (Industrial Revolution) à ???

I find there to be only one issue according to this imposed trend. For one, these periods in time encompass several others. I presume this trend applies to the general overall picture, but what if we were to look even closer? Breaking down the overall time periods into smaller fractions, the trend would probably jump around from maybe going from one threshold period to 3 periods of stability. Now, I am no historic expert, but I am vaguely sure that the Modern Era was not merely an age of scientific ignorance.


Moving on, another essential point Century brought up were the “waves of innovation.” Taking a look at Schumpeter’s Waves Accelerate, we see an exponential rise in revolutionary technology and a decrease in time intervals between each wave. This would imply that we are currently at the peak or steadily declining in technological advancement/application. However, I again hold several problems with this piece of information. For one, the time interval from wave to wave predicts shorter and shorter lapses of time from revolutionary technology to revolutionary technology. Taking the graph even further, are we to presume that in the year 2090, scientific and technological revolutions will be a common anomalies every 3 or so years? Also, can’t we eliminate the down slope and simply transition into another revolutionary period?

Century did somewhat provide an answer to these questions when looking at the three ways of looking at people working in Interdisciplinary ways. The first is integrative – somewhat of a synthesis of the old and new information. I guess a simple modern example would be a Nintendo Wii’s ability to play both new games as well as games from its former system the Gamecube. Second we have service – one technique serves as a means to an end. This happens a lot when artists and scientists are trying to up-another. In this sense, the artist comes up with something possible yet challenging to engineer. In turn the scientist attempts to tackle the problem. This method loops and often keeps the respected fields either on one side or integrating them. Lastly, we come upon reflexive/ontological – challenging the very foundational principles of a field. Century offered multiple examples of artistic revolutions. In contrast, the sciences have seen much principle change in the last few centuries itself. One of my favorites would be rise of quantum mechanics in order to explain things on a smaller scale. This discovery completely revolutionized the way we look at look at matter.

Lastly, I would just like to leave this last note: Art and science may be on the opposite ends of the spectrum; but when light passes through the prism, both artists and scientists will shine together.

Nanotechnology by Brandon Aust

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

The possibilities of nanotechnology are endless. I find the most interesting thing about nanotechnology is the concept behind it. The technology keeps getting more and more complicated, yet we desire for the size to get smaller and smaller. It seems like a paradox to me that we can put more advanced equipment into such a smaller package. But, as technology has shown, the desire is to always get more compact. For example, the first computer took up an entire room, and now a laptop can fit in a small bag. The technology within the computer is getting smaller too. With smaller grooves and the hard drive, storage can increase immensely.
Nanotechnology is also a large part of human culture. It is prevalent in many books and movies. Nanotechnology always reminds me of the movie Fantastic Voyage. I find it funny that technology is almost to the point to make this a reality. Not the part of actually shrinking humans, but to have medical equipment that can fit in a human’s bloodstream in order to fix medical problems. Nanotechnology is also in The Matrix, which was also prevalent in our discussion of robotics and consciousness. I really had never noticed how encompassing these parts of our culture are when it comes to the various aspects of the scientific world. It’s very interesting that these topics can save lives and also entertain.


In a way, it is kind of frightening, and yet very exciting where technology can take us. We are currently in a time period where technology is developing faster than it ever has. It is difficult to even name one technological breakthrough, such as how the automobile defined the late 1800’s, because there are so many new ideas being produced or thought up of every day. One has to make an effort to stay informed about all the technology that is even around them.

For some odd reason, nanotechnology reminds me of the concept of space that we discussed last earlier. The way in which this technology is so small in compared to our world makes me think of how small we are in the entire universe. I am currently learning about relativity in my physics class, and I find myself thinking of these concepts. It really reminds me of the scene in Men in Black in which “the galaxy is on Orion’s belt” in which our galaxy is obtained in a marble of an even larger area of space. The perspective of things is simply mind blowing. Going back to the idea of consciousness, we may be unaware of the fact that we are a sort of nano-being to an even larger life form. I think that nanotechnology is a great topic to philosophically link many of the concepts we have discussed in earlier classes.


-Brandon Aust

nanotechnology by joseph hernandez

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009


I found it really interesting how nanotechonology can have such an enormous impact on society.  Whether it is through its social awareness of Obama, like our guest speaker showed us, or the interpretation of what society depicts nanotechnology.  The nano-hummer kind of blows my mind of how it can be interpreted.  Yes, it is a smaller and more efficient version of the Hummer but it is no way a typically nano-sized piece of techonology.  Even the ipod nano seems a little ridiculous to but it makes much more sense then the nano-hummer.

Week 9: Nanotech Insight, Applications and Implications. By Ryan Andre Magsino

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Week 9: Nanotech Insight, Applications and Implications. By Ryan Andre Magsino

“You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain

According to the authors of The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of Fact & Fiction in the Construction of a New Science, “In both the philosophical and visual sense, ‘seeing is believing’ does not apply to nanotechnology…” Such statement is clearly true concerning visually sensing nanotechnology at work due to the limitations of the naked eye. We can however contend through a philosophical sense that the saying, “seeing is believing,” can apply to nanotechnology. The origin of such a phrase most likely stems from ancient Greece, for their culture was very much inclined on visuals compared to the other senses. In addition, they were also the first to point out “seeing without seeing.” In a philosophical sense, they were referring seeing to the insight of knowing. Taking this reference into consideration, utilizing insight to hypothesize the existence of nanotechnology “looks” logical.

A nanobot, obviously fictional/conceptual, for now...

A nanobot, obviously fictional/conceptual, for now...

But why should we bother with something we cannot even see?

Typing in “Applications for Nanotechnology” into a search engine will yields thousands if not millions of entries. From improved medical diagnosis, chemical catalysts, energy efficiency to consumer goods, the list for useful applications goes on and on. Overall, the grand scheme of nanotechnology (molecular in particular) is the concept of producing anything given the materials. In some sense, it is as though we have discovered the missing piece in the art of alchemy, nanotechnology.

One interesting application for nanotechnology would be planetary terraforming. In Engines of Creation, Drexler hints at using (nano) machines to rid the world of pollution. “With replicating assemblers we will even be able to remove the billions of tons of carbon dioxide that our fuel burning society has dumped into the atmosphere.” What if we were to utilize these replicating assemblers for terraforming? By altering planets (i.e. Mars) or other heavenly bodies’ atmosphere, temperature, and ecology, such specified place could have the properties of a live-able environment similar to that of Earth. Could this be a solution to the imminent overpopulation on Earth?

The Terraformation of Mars, a reality with nanotechnology?

The Terraformation of Mars, a reality with nanotechnology?

What then? What will happen to society and the value in products?

If the future of nanotechnology results in the ability to produce anything given the initial materials to do so, change will be imminent. In an ideal world, the repercussions of such a scenario would be breathtaking. Several social and economic issues would then be resolved. For example, starvation would be a problem of the past since food can be easily assembled on a molecular scale. Furthermore, people will be judged by who they are rather than how much they are worth or what they possess due to the drop in material value.

Then again, I am ashamed to admit that we do not live in an ideal world. Rather, the actuality of this scenario would be to place limitations on nanotechnology. Especially since nanotechnology is not something that occurs naturally, inventions and designed systems in the field are completely up to be patented. Also, the technology will most likely only be available to certain nations or corporations. Thus only those with the technology will be able to profit.

Josh Bohbot Sec. B Nano Tech Dreams

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Nano Technology:

Use of nanotech will obviously be growing in the coming decades. In clothing a great technology to be used is the Nansulate coating system. Nansulate can effectively block heat transfer therefore objects coated with Nansulate can be put through incredibly high temperatures and will not burn. This video shows how well Nansulate holds up to flame.

I can see many uses to this from insulation to firefighting outfits.

These are todays practical uses of nanotech, the Nokia morph we saw in class would the next step but seems extremely far possibility. Nanotech is bringing scifi to reality. A device that could be  folded in several places to become phone to wristwatch mp3 to full blown computer. One things is for sure, nanotech is making scientists dreams slowly conceivable.

wk 9—–nanotechnology and biotechnology? ethics? imagination? shiyang zheng

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Professor James Gimzewski’s lecture on nanotechnology is inspiring. And I was surprised by the huge impact of nanotechnology today and coming future. As Professor James Gimzewski said, it is age of nanotechnology. I expect to see how everything is getting small. In the discussion, we watch a video of Nokia Morph Concept.


The cell phone is flexible, can detect dust and bacteria, and has solar recharge system etc. The technology has been developed rapidly since 20th century. We can see things are getting smaller in size but greater in functionality. Everything is getting portable such as laptop.


The world smallest laptop:


Especially after Internet is introduced, we have greater and more frequent interaction among other social groups, friends, and family even in distance. Through Internet, it’s easier and more efficient to share ideas. There is no doubt technology accelerates human civilization. Imaging one day when everything is portable and smaller by nanotechnology, I believe we have to change our lifestyle again. Nano-book, nano-mobile, nano-luggage, nano-medical props that can cure our illness inside our body etc. However, nanotechnology involves more than just creating things on a small scale. Nanotechnology is the natural amalgamation of all fields of science and technology in understanding and manipulating matter on an ever-smaller scale. But it’s important to remember that nanotechnology enables the development of new materials and systems with novel properties.


Beside nanotechnology, biotechnology is another emerging field. Recently I read an interesting article about the integration of biotechnology and nanotechnology. The first applications of nanotechnology in biotechnology are in diagnostics. There are companies like Agilent, Nanogen and Affymetrix are using nanotechnology to build arrays to help diagnose multiple ailments. In the next decade, drug delivery systems are likely to use nanotechnology, as will medical implants. In the future, as specialists predict, there will have nanomachines that act as biological systems working together could carry out tasks such as delivering medicine, altering genes and attacking cancer cells. These would be nanosize assemblies that would perform biological tasks, which means nanotechnology could mimic biological systems such as viruses.


However, The initial challenge for merging nano- and biotechnology will be getting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval due to the potential effects of foreign material and implantable devices in the body. Besides there are a series of ethical questions and regulations needed to be discussed. Technology is useful, but we might really need to seat and think about its application seriously. While I was writing my final project, I was very enjoying my powerful invention. Unfortunately, it might be dangerous and harmful to society if it was improperly used.  Therefore, I feel it is necessary to educate everyone of the development of our technology and its effect to our daily life. There are many chemical and electronic products today. However, we do only know its benefits and method of usage but any potential harm to our health. For example microwave. It is harmful to stand in front of microwave while it is operating. It could generate certain wave frequency, which is harmful to your physical and mental health. Therefore, it’s necessary to collective unit of organization or people to supervise security and quality of the product. There are many existing organization such as FDA protecting consumer’s benefit. However, everyone individual might have different requirements and needs. It’s an analogy to see the doctor when you are sick. Everyone has different health and physical condition. And everyone has different prescription.



I’m very agree with Professor James Gimzewski, this is the age of nanotechnology, at same time, I also think we are living in the world of imagination. He also mentioned the difference between scientists and artists. In his opinion, scientists discover the new but do not know how to create new application. Artists have imagination and creativity that scientists do not have. And thus, He expects artists and scientists work together. After staying in desma9 for 9 weeks, I start to see the integration of art and science from a possibility to an unavoidable trend and fashion. “Apple” is a great example! I like one sentence he said in the end very much “the imagination decides future”. In my imagination, I can find my passion and ambition. It’s the source of my determination and perseverance. My imagination decides my attitude and the content of my imagination will decide my direction.



Week 9 - Nanotechnology by Adriana Rosas

Monday, March 9th, 2009

I never really knew what nanotechnology really was. I always associated nanotechnology with technology that was really small, but did not have a full understanding of the subject. After this week’s lecture, however, I learned that it is defined as being the engineering of functional systems at a molecular scale. On a more relative note, one nanometer can be compared to one-hundred thousand times thinner than a strand of hair.


Because of innovative thinking and the creation of nano-particles is possible, the medical field, space exploration, the electronic market, and energy production are all able to expand. For example, with the help of nanotechnology, scientists have begun research on a nano-particle that can diagnose cancer. Nano-particles would also be used to recognize the molecular signatures of cancers and adhere to hidden cancerous cells (making them visible to an MRI or fluorescent light).Not only would these particles be accurate and cheap, but they could also be linked to anti body that can recognize cancer cells and be taken in by the tumor. The particle would then release a type for inferred light into the tumor which would ultimately get rid of the tumor without harming neighboring cells. Additionally, researchers are trying to find a cure for Parkinson ’s disease by replacing organs such as kidneys and lungs that have been destructed by this disease, with nanomaterials that will be effectively used as synthetic tissue.


Contrary to its name, the possibilities of nanotechnology seem huge. Although it is a rather new field of subject that hasn’t been highly established yet, there is a lot of research underway that will have an extensive impact on our lives. Like I previously mentioned, finding a cure for cancer using nano-particles is an extremely important research topic. Another area where nanotechnology is being utilized is in environmental conservation. In what is known as greener nanotechnology, scientists use less toxic compounds to produce their experiments and research. In addition, research is under way of trying to reduce the world’s dependency of electrical power consumption using nanotechnology. However, all of the nano-technological research that must happen cannot take place without funding. Although all of these breakthroughs will eventually boost our countries economy and serve as an overall benefit in the medical, electrical, environmental, and astronomical fields, it is estimated that it will cost the average person millions of dollars. In a time of recession, we as a nation cannot afford such a huge budget. Hopefully in the future the funding will be made available to carry out these amazingly advanced projects.


Monday, March 9th, 2009

This week’s nanotechnology lectures were actually very interesting to me.  There have been many significant waves in the history of science, such as the discovery of electricity, modern computing, integrated circuits, nuclear power, quantum mechanics, etc., and it seems like nanotechnology is the newest one.  After learning about the basics of nanotechnology, I have a deeper understanding of the idea of “top-down processing,” or as I like to call it, “how small can we make this?”  From the nano-abacus to the nano-radio, it seems like reinventing something when you’re making it 9 powers of ten smaller.  In addition to top-down processing, I learned about the other aspect of nanotechnology that’s not so obvious: going from simple to complex.  Our modern chemistry has advanced to a point where it is possible to synthesize nearly any structure of molecules.  Now, modern chemistry is focused on synthesizing extremely complex structures through the use of self-assembling molecules, such as the carbon nano-tube or fullerene.  The race to control matter on an atomic scale is on.
File:Types of Carbon Nanotubes.png

Carbon nanotubes have many distinct uses.  For example, carbon nanotubes can be engineered to deliver drugs in a person’s body, as a solar cell, in motors, to make extremely powerful capacitors, in touch-screens and flexible displays, as a versatile component in circuit boards, to treat cancer, and to detect certain chemicals in the air.  One example of the uses of carbon nanotubes is the Nokia Morph concept video we watched in section.  It amazes me that so many different features, such as the flexible telephone screen, the real 3-D buttons, and the hydrophobic surface, can be created from different arrangements of rings of carbon atoms.

Interesting videos on nanotechnology:

Military Nanotechnology:

Nanotechnology Running Shoes: