Documenting the Coming Singularity

Friday, April 13, 2007

Watch Nanotechnology Take Off

I was a bit disappointed when I learned that the PBS documentary Nanotechnology Takes Off was not going to be aired in my neck of the woods back in March. OK, I was more than a bit disappointed. This was something I was deeply interested in, and I couldn't watch it. Well, it turns out I shouldn't have been so faithless, because it's now available for viewing online. In fact you can watch it right here on The Price of Rice! And if you're an educator, you can get the PDF Educator Guide here. A few excerpts:

A nanotech boom in the Bay Area has begun, but what will it bring? From Lawrence Berkeley National Labs to Silicon Valley, researchers are manipulating particles at the atomic level, ushering in potential cures for cancer, clothes that don't stain, and solar panels as thick as a sheet of paper.

Scientists have discovered that materials on an atomic and molecular scale behave very differently and have unique characteristics that differ from those of larger objects. In much the same way that magnets have positive and negative poles that are attracted to each other, the atoms and molecules of these nano-scale materials stick together because of charges that attract or shapes that fit together. It’s the unique properties of these atoms that let scientists create products like stain-resistant and wrinkle-free pants or sunscreen that blocks ultraviolet light.

Scientists predict that every aspect of our economy and lives will be affected by nanotechnology. Its biggest impact may be in the fields of computers, where nanochips could store trillions of bits of information; medicine, where nanorobots could be programmed to perform surgery or rearrange the atoms of your body; and the environment, where nanotechnology devices could remove contaminants in the atmosphere or oceans.

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