Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nanotechnology’s reach, from swords to solar cells

In a lecture last week, Murray Gibson, founding dean of the College of Science, examined the history of nanoscience — and what studying nature means for its future. Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.
In a lecture last week, Murray Gibson, founding dean of the College of Science, examined the history of nanoscience — and what studying nature means for its future. Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

Abstract:
Nanotechnology may be an emerging field of study, but it's actually been around for a number of centuries, said Murray Gibson, founding dean of the College of Science at Northeastern University.

Nanotechnology’s reach, from swords to solar cells

Boston, MA | Posted on November 8th, 2011

To make swords, blacksmiths would bang away at iron in the presence of coal dust — thereby infusing tiny carbon particles into the iron to make the sword tips sharp. "They didn't know how it worked, but they were doing nanotechnology thousands of years ago," Gibson told more than 30 faculty and students in Frost Lounge last Tuesday for a lecture presented by PRISM, the Proactive Recruitment in Introductory Science and Mathematics.

PRISM is an initiative that connects Northeastern mathematicians, physicists and biologists with first- and second-year students who want to learn more about math and science research-related co-ops and internships. It was developed by members of Northeastern's math and science faculty and is supported by a five-year, $1.98 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Nanoscience, Gibson said, is a highly interdisciplinary field best described as a convergence between the physical and life sciences. It revolves around the study of tiny objects. A nanometer, for example, is about the size of 10 atoms, or about how much a fingernail grows in a second.

Much of the science is explained in the arrangement and pattern of atoms on the nanoscale. This arrangement, Gibson explained, is what differentiates diamonds from graphite found in pencils. How atoms organize and bond with each other also determines the brilliant colors in ancient stained-glass windows.

Nanoscience even occurs in the kitchen. Earlier this semester, students in Northeastern's chapter of the American Chemical Society made ice cream using liquid nitrogen. When liquid nitrogen hits the cream and other ingredients, it immediately creates crystals, which Gibson said directly relates to how the ice cream tastes.

"It's a very expensive way to make ice cream, and only a chemist would think that way," he joked.

Nanotechnology, Gibson noted, may lead to a revolution in the way things are built — from lighter, stronger aircraft wings to cheap solar cells that can solve the world's energy problems. He said nanotechnology might be used in health care to help detect viruses and deliver drugs.

The answers, Gibson said, lie in studying how nature and evolution have already built things from the bottom up, and then translating that knowledge into interdisciplinary research, which he said can provide fertile ground for collaboration and discovery.

Northeastern researchers are already exploring the boundaries of nanotechnology through innovative work across numerous research centers and programs, such as the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing, the Electronic Materials Research Institute, the Center for Translational Cancer Nanomedicine and the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program in nanomedicine.

Gibson said it's critical for students interested in pursuing research to develop expertise in a particular discipline. This, he said, will provide a strong foundation for designing science experiments and position students to conduct interdisciplinary research, which he called a critical component in the future of nanotechnology.

"The great thing about science is you're always discovering like you did as a child," he said.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Greg St. Martin
617-373-5463

Copyright © Northeastern University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

Stretchy supercapacitors power wearable electronics August 25th, 2016

Academic/Education

AIM Photonics Announces Release of Process Design Kit (PDK) for Integrated Silicon Photonics Design August 25th, 2016

Nanotech Security Featured by Simon Fraser University: Company's Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Developed With the Help of University's 4D LABS Materials Research Institute August 21st, 2016

W.M. Keck Foundation awards Cal State LA a $375,000 research and education grant August 4th, 2016

Thomas Swan and NGI announce unique partnership July 28th, 2016

Nanomedicine

Nanofiber scaffolds demonstrate new features in the behavior of stem and cancer cells August 25th, 2016

Johns Hopkins scientists track metabolic pathways to find drug combination for pancreatic cancer August 25th, 2016

50 years after the release of the film 'Fantastic Voyage,' science upstages fiction: Science upstages fiction with nanorobotic agents designed to travel in the human body to treat cancer August 25th, 2016

Tunneling nanotubes between neurons enable the spread of Parkinson's disease via lysosomes August 24th, 2016

Materials/Metamaterials

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

Unraveling the crystal structure of a -70° Celsius superconductor, a world first: Significant advancement in the realization of room-temperature superconductors August 25th, 2016

Semblant to Present at China Mobile Manufacturing Forum 2016 August 25th, 2016

Announcements

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Aerospace/Space

University of Puerto Rico and NASA back in the news – XEI reports August 23rd, 2016

To Infinity and Beyond with Nanosatellites August 10th, 2016

Carbon nanotube 'stitches' make stronger, lighter composites: Method to reinforce these materials could help make airplane frames lighter, more damage-resistant August 4th, 2016

PPPL applies quantum theory and Einstein's special relativity to plasma physics issues July 31st, 2016

Solar/Photovoltaic

Let's roll: Material for polymer solar cells may lend itself to large-area processing: 'Sweet spot' for mass-producing polymer solar cells may be far larger than dictated by the conventional wisdom August 12th, 2016

NREL technique leads to improved perovskite solar cells August 11th, 2016

Making a solar energy conversion breakthrough with help from a ferroelectrics pioneer: Philadelphia-based team shows how a ferroelectric insulator can surpass shockley-queisser limit August 9th, 2016

Tiny high-performance solar cells turn power generation sideways August 5th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic