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A quote that comes to mind when thinking of nanotechnology is from Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Horst Störmer (here is a link to one of his lectures: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8197935869304489599), who said that the nanoscale is more interesting than the atomic scale because the nanoscale is the first point where we can start assembling something. I never really looked at nanotechnology from this point of view before, as the smallest useful building blocks. As an engineer, the goal is always to make something smaller and more efficient, but to see it from the other few (building up from the atomic level), nanotechnology takes on a whole new perspective. Atoms fall within fractions of the nanoscale, but its true that the things that are useful to us now are created by pulling these atoms together.

I found an interesting metaphor about the importance and small scale of nanotechnolgy:  “[Creating things without nanotechnology is] like trying to make things out of LEGO blocks with boxing gloves on your hands. Yes, you can push the LEGO blocks into great heaps and pile them up, but you can’t really snap them together the way you’d like. 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. ”

The idea that we can “take off our boxing gloves” and create things with such precision is fascinating. When working on the atomic level, the only way to go is up. It is important to utilize the lack of “boxing gloves” to create new advances in the world of nanotechnology.

All scientists utilize nanotechnology in their varying fields today (some of the many different benefits of nanotechnology are shown in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4CjZ-OkGDs). Everyone wants to make things smaller, faster, more economical. The widespread use of nanotechnology is important in our modern world.

In our current economic condition, it is tough to rationalize spending the money on the research for these “small” advancements. However, these advancements will be important to our growth in the future. By being able to build and produce things inexpensively and with less materials, we will be able to help preserve our worlds natural resources. These resources cannot be recreated later no matter the technology we develop. It is so important now to find more efficient ways to do the things we do on a daily basis in order to help our world as a whole in the future. If we can produce a computer that uses little to no energy using the advantages of nanotechnology, we can cut back on our energy use to a large degree.

Driving a car that is powered using alternative energy created through nanoscience will not only save our fuel sources, but will also reduce the number of harmful emissions to the atmosphere. A doctor that can safely perform surgeries thanks to equipment that was created on a nanoscale will be more effective and more cost efficient in the long run.

Engineers and scientists alike have been working hard to make our world more compact and efficient. Now, with dwindling resources and an unstable economic condition, this research and their efforts become invaluable to society. Now, the goal is not to get “bigger and better,” but it is, in fact, to cut back and utilize the small things in life. These small advances and small technologies will be our future.

Useful Links:
http://www.mitdv.org/events/archives/2005/03/nobel_laureate.html

http://www.zyvex.com/nano/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yzhSHzw_lQ

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