If you tune in to today’s show, you might hear guest host Joe Palca talking to Felice Frankel and George Whitesides, co-authors of No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale.
The point of their book is to help people visualize concepts in nanoscience.
So here’s a collection of images from the book. If you’re listening to the podcast, enjoy. If you’re listening to the show live, feel free to call in with questions about specific pictures.
Frankel was charged with the task of putting together the images. Because you usually can’t photograph nanoparticles — they’re smaller than the photons of light needed to hit objects when taking a picture — many of her photographs are metaphors.
Like this picture of a cascade that’s supposed to represent electron levels:
["Quantum Cascades" Image Credit: Felice Frankel.]
Or this picture of an apple with a square reflection, that is supposed to show that things on the quantum level aren’t always what they seem:
["Quantum Apple" Image Credit: Felice Frankel.]
People who do take pictures of tiny particles sometimes use this tool, an atomic force microscope:
["Feeling is Seeing" Image Credit: Felice Frankel.]
Technology is one field with an obvious nanotech connection. Smaller, faster equipment, like this microreactor, have been key for technological advances:
["Microreactor" Image Credit: Felice Frankel.]
Frankel tries to illustrate the flow of data. You see the flight pattern of commercial aircraft (top), compared to a map of bit flow in the internet (bottom):
["The Internet" Image Credit (top): 'Flight Patterns' by Aaron Koblin 2009. Image Credit (bottom): Chris Harrison, Carnegie Mellon University.]
Here you see quantum dots, or tiny pieces of inorganic material, attaching to structures in a cell:
["Quantum Dots and the Cell" Image Credit: Felice Frankel.]
Different views of a sponge skeleton:
["Elegance of Simple Animals" (collage) Image Credit: Joanna Aizenberg and Felice Frankel.]
The skeleton in full:
["Elegance of Simple Animals" (double spread) Image Credit: Felice Frankel.]
Nanoscience is also going to help shape the future of energy. Here you can see Frankel’s picture of a fuel cell:
["Fuel Cell" Image Credit: Felice Frankel.]
And her shot of a solar cell:
["Solar Cell" Image Credit: Felice Frankel.]
The scribblings that trace the paths of particles in a nuclear collision: