Week9/ Nanotechnology/ James Martin

This week’s topic was nanotechnology.  Nanotechnology has the potential of changing our society in so many ways it is unfathomable.  There are so many different possibilities and directions that nanotechnology can push mankind for the better.  This week we received a special lecture from James Gimzewski of the chemistry department.  There was one project that he briefly spoke of that really caught my attention.  He spoke of the space elevator.

The concept of the space elevator refers to an elevator-like tool that would allow for the transportation of objects into space without shuttles.  It is a fixed structure that would go from the earth passed geostationary orbit.  Current technology is not capable to create such a device that is light and strong enough to reach space.  However the most recent conceptualization for the space elevator is to use carbon nanotube as mentioned by James Gimzewski.  The cable that leads up to space would be made entirely out of single walled carbon nanotube.  The problem over the space elevator is the fact that the material must be extremely light and extremely strong.  This is where the nanotechnology come into play.  Without nanotechnology, carbon nanotubes would never have been created.  Projects like the space elevator are becoming reality due in large part to nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology can also be used in art and to help it last as long as possible.  Italian scientists are developing a way to use nanotechnology in order to restore many art piece a lot better and for a lot less money.  The technology is being created at the University of Florence in which water nanocontainers are being used.  Basically what is happening is that tiny droplets of cleaning agents are suspended in water to form micro-emulsions and are restoring paintings much better.  There are two main advantages of what is happening.  It is a better way of cleaning the old paintings and it is also a lot cheaper.  As techno logy advances, the scientists will further their understanding of the nanocontainers and create a plentiful version in order to clean.  Also, there it is a much more environmentally friendly way of cleaning the paintings, which is better for everyone.  Nanotechnology created a way far better way to clean the surface of old paintings.


Another field in which nanotechnology is being used is in computers.  The first computer that was ever made was so large that it could probably have taken up most of our lecture room in Broad.  As nanotechnology has progressed the computer has progressively gotten much smaller to wear it can fit in our hand now.  In James Gimzewski’s lecture, he mentioned how something’s, such as computers, will soon no longer be able to go any smaller and will lose many functions if they do go really small.  I also feel that there is a point in which things can become to small and there is no longer a purpose to having it.  As far as I can tell, nanotechnology seems to have a really positive future.

James Martin

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