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After the eight o’clock Engineering Success Skills class on Thursday morning, we walked straight over to Karrman Library. It was difficult to know where to begin looking, so we headed over to the small reference office in the back where a lady helped us find the books. She explained where everything in the library was at, and helped us to become familiar with the library’s organizational system. Like any other library, this one too, used the Dewey decimal system. All three of us proceeded upstairs, and she showed us where the technology section was. Then she pointed out the book, Introduction to Nanotechnology, a book far more complicated than it would have appeared with a glance at its cover. The librarian was very pleased that we were interested in this subject, and she explained that the University of Wisconsin-Platteville was trying to approve a major for nanotechnology which may be available next fall. At this point the lady that had helped so much had left to go help others in need. We went back downstairs to the Check-Out desk, and checked out the book the librarian had found earlier. Then we proceeded to find other information on the computer using the information available to us through electronic journals. After this we left to go work on this paper.
To many researchers in the scientific community, nanotechnology is not a new application of science. Scientists have been involved and intrigued with research at the “nano” level ever since the invention of the electron microscope. However, while the scientific community may be familiar with the term “nanotechnology” not all of the public has been educated about this science.
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This is living proof that the applications of this science are being used today. There is a big mix-up between what nanotechnology is, what it is not, where it belongs, and where it does not belong. This can become a problem for many people in the business world because technology is constantly changing. We have our cell phones, computers and their components, additives in plastics, and many other devices that vary in their fields of use, that are shrinking in size every year. Personally we believe that it would be exciting if the scientific community was successful in building the elevator to space via nanotubes. With all of this discussion on how nanotechnology affects the “real world,” it is important to not just know how and where nanotechnology is applied, but also to realize how this science came to be.
Nanotechnology is the study of anything and everything small. Nanotechnology is defined by JCE Index Online as “the creation of materials, devices, and systems through the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules.” Nanotechnology involves the use of particles that are less than 100 nanometers long to create materials or simple machines (a strand of DNA is 2.5 nanometers in diameter and a strand of human hair is about 80,000 nanometers in diameter). This has become very appealing to many scientists and investors for good reason. It’s hard telling how far nanotechnology will raise the bar on life, but the possibilities are endless, thus allowing the science to become so popular.
We now know that nanotechnology is not science fiction, and is being used more and more in our everyday technological devices and in medicine. Researchers are exploring the use of nanoparticles to deliver anti-cancer drugs to targeted sites inside of the body, making them much more effective while reducing side effects. And on the same token, even having an alarm inside the body that will sound when a foreign body has entered the body warning the patient of disease before it can spread. Other expected advances include light, super-strong materials, and more powerful processors in computers. According to CQ Researcher, the military is looking closely at nanotechnology with the possibility of creating nanoarmor-lined turrets and doors for Humvees. Even nano fibers to protect against germ and chemical weapons are a possibility. Imagine roadways that are able to repair themselves made from materials that are a hundred times as strong with a fraction of the weight. My high school instructor has actually showed us a material created by nanotechnology. It was a possible future substitute for wood product that was just as strong but weighed no more than a piece of Styrofoam.
Funding for this technology is exceptional when compared to other fields. President Bush has approved federal funding of nearly $1 billion annually for research and development for another four years. This technology is greatly on the rise, and some predict that this may even cause an industrial revolution bigger than any the world has ever seen. But researchers are also finding flaws. A common molecule used in nanotechnology called a “bucky ball” causes severe brain damage in fish. And other research has found that other particles used may also cause lung damage. Nevertheless, nanotechnology is a science just emerging, with an endless sum of possiblilities that could greatly benefit mankind once we are able to perfect them.
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Poole, Jr., Charles P. and Frank J. Owens. Introduction to Nanotechnology. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003