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September 20th, 2007
The single hardest aspect of starting a career in nanoscience may be just figuring out what it is. That's because, as Robert F. Service observes in the lead story in this week's feature, "nano" isn't an industry or a scientific field. It's a scale--one where interesting things are happening in a wide range of scientific disciplines, from microbiology to microprocessors. It's also a scale at which scientists have learned, in recent years, how to manipulate matter. And that's why nanotechnology is hot.
So just how hot is it? For one thing, it's one of very few emerging scientific topics that frequently pass the lips of people who aren't scientists. In the first 6 months of this year, the word "nanotechnology" occurred in 32 different articles in The New York Times, for example. Over the same 6-month period a decade earlier, the word appeared in the Times just three times. So how many times will the term occur, say, 5 years from now? And more to the point, how many of those mentions will be in the newspaper's employment section?
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