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April 17th, 2006

Thinking really small

Alex Zettl, a University of California at Berkeley physics professor who grew up in Marin County, is making big advances in the science of small. The 49-year-old Drake High School grad recently won a prestigious physics prize for building the world's smallest motor.

"Oh, it probably isn't good for anything," he said, smiling broadly. "The fact that you can make this motor spin around is a big achievement. Now you can hook it onto other things, make it move little mirrors, make it drive fluids through nanochannels. The systems it would be integrated in don't yet exist. But ultimately, product development will lead to applications."


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