Nanotech, a catalyst: Maxwell Blanchard

Nanotechnology has infnite applications in a variety of different scientific fields.  This week it wasn’t very dificult to locate an interesting topic. While researching nanotechnology, i read articles on everything from nanomaterials, to cloaking devices. Nanotehnology seems to be blurring the metaphorical bridge between what this generation considered to be realistic and fictional.  It was kind of ironic reading an article that approached the idea of a cloaking device as an endeavor in soon in reach of science.  “Invisibility Through Nano” by Charles Choi delves into the idea of such an invention.  He discusses how the method already naturally occurs in nature, one of the examples being a mirage, which is merely light bending and projecting the sky onto sand.  However, the goal of the cloak would be to bend the light around the object as though there were nothing in front of it.  Nonetheless, there is still some skepticism as to whether or not a cloak that could react to all wavelengths of light would exist.  Speaking of irony, it’s somewhat ironic that the skepticism on the subject stems not from the inevitable existence of an “invisibility cloak,” but rather the fashion in which it would function.  Regardless, the link to the article is http://www.spacemart.com/reports/Invisibility_Through_Nano.html. There is actually an NBC video discussing an “invisibility” cloak that was being researched at Duke.  It follows relatively close to the facts mentioned in Choi’s article.  Essentially the device is only for microwaves at the moment, but it shows that eventually visible waves will be manipulated in a similar fashion. The “cloaking device” in the video is built from copper chips that essentially reflect the waves that they encounter.

There are even Youtube videos portraying “super soldier suits.”  This particular video is obviously just the portrayal of another nano idea(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pNbF29l9Zg).  But notice how whenever a new technology is stumbled upon, mentions of military applications are instantly considered.  In the video a man enjoys almost god-like abilities of invisibility, self healing, and super physical abilities. As i started reviewing additional articles delving into military nanotechnology, it wasn’t surprising to find that fears of the effects of the technology are already being discussed as well. Professor Vesna actually drew a couple of the same correlations during the space week lectures.  The political effects of the technology coud potentially cause a bit of chaos, or at least a transfer of power. The fact of the matter is that it there are serious fears of another arms race occurring.

Nonetheless there are a serious amount of amazing applications for nanotechnology. Everything from nanobots that can repair clots and damaged neurons to new bombs and nanomaterials.  Manipulation at the molecular level has even caused philosophical discussions about how we view the world currently.  Profesor Vesna brought this up when she  previously discussed the way colors are affected at the molecular level, and how colors can be created from the same material by manipulating structure and size.  It’s somewhat mind boggling to find that what we thought was a “color” is almost an illusion.

I touched on a couple topics this blog, but one last interesting one is the portrayal in movies.  Let’s face it, how envious is everyone of the invisible cloaking device in Predator?

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