Unfortunately, I was out of town when Jason Reed spoke so I missed his lecture on nanotechnology. However, from my own research and what I have read in other students’ blogs, it sounds like a truly fascinating field. For north campus majors and other science outsiders like me, it all seems complicated and difficult to understand at first. Because of this, I wanted to look into nanotech as art rather than nanotech as science: it’s more visual than theoretical, so it makes more sense to me.
A few years ago, National Geographic ran an article on a LACMA biotech exhibit that professor Vesna and Jim Gimzewski put on (you can read it here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/12/1223_031223_nanotechnology.html). The exhibit allowed visitors to interact with elements of nanotechnology by manipulating buckyballs and exploring atomic and molecular structures.
But this exhibit just skims the surface of nanotech as art. The Scanning Tunneling Microscope can taken some fantastic images of tiny particles. Here are a few:
This first image is quinacridone on graphite; the second is of gold. Since up-close photos convey very little context, they force the viewer to wonder what they are. I like this because it gets people thinking about nanotechnology: the art is provocative.
But the other side of nanotechnology, the science side, is just as important. Nanotech is being used for everything from skin creams to forensic tools to light-weight materials, as several people in the class have already mentioned. Where will it go from here? What else can we make on a molecular level that will benefit people? I would like to find out, so the next chance I have to see someone like Mr. Reed speak, I’m going.