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"Is it the next best thing to sliced bread...or the next asbestos?"
- Dr. Mark Wiesner, professor at Duke University; formerly with Rice University's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN)


For a good introduction on nanotechnology and its related issues, please click here (1MB PDF file).*

For a good visual demonstration of how things can work together on the nanoscale, please see this video - "The Inner Life of a Cell" - at this link.**

And for three possible scenarios in nanotechnology's development and impact on our future, please see this document (0.8MB PDF file). ***

 With permission of The Wellcome Trust.
      ** With permission of Studiodaily.com.

      ** With permission of Nanologue

Nanotechnology, also known as molecular manufacturing in its advanced form, is the manipulation of materials on the scale of nanometers - basically, moving around things atom by atom.

A nanometer is one-billionth the size of a meter.  Exactly how small is that?  Here’s how a couple writers have put it:

“If a nanometer were somehow magnified to appear as long as the nose on your face, then a red blood cell would appear the size of the Empire State Building, a human hair would be about two or three miles wide, one of your fingers would span the continental United States, and a normal person would be about as tall as six or seven planet Earths piled atop one another.”  (The New Atlantis)

“Let's take a trip down the powers of ten: a dime is 1,000 microns thick, a human egg cell is a tenth of that, a red blood cell is a tenth of that, a nerve axon is a tenth thinner still, and you can fit ten viruses along that axon's diameter.  Now we're down to 100 nanometers.  A cell's membrane is a tenth as thick as that, a DNA strand is a fifth as thick as that, and an amino acid is a third of that.  Now we're down to about one nanometer.  A hydrogen atom is about a tenth as thick as that – but, enough.”  (The Red Herring)
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