After Hours

No small book on microtechnology

In this brief review, Edmond Woychowsky says the book No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale is a wonderful combination of art and science.

When I hear the word nano, what comes to mind are nanites (also known as nanorobotics), a technology that is as filled with both promise and peril; and yet, while microscopic robots are still somewhat beyond our reach, our lives are filled with nanomaterials. Everything that we touch, eat, breathe, and see consists of particles so small that we can't perceive them individually, but together the particles make up our world and ourselves. Unfortunately, our senses are unable to perceive reality on the nanoscale without assistance.

The book No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale (Harvard University Press) by Felice C. Frankel and George M. Whitesides shows a world that is beyond our senses and reality. Through text, beautiful pictures, and illustrations, No Small Matter shows the small and (some of) the large things that we are ignorant about or take for granted. I particularly enjoyed the section on computing — it convinced me that Charles Babbage would be right at home in today's world.

This book wasn't quite what I expected; instead of a dry tome full of facts and figures, it was a wonderful combination of art and science. This book would be a welcome addition to any geeks' library — even those (like me) whose tastes in art run along the lines of Frank Frazetta and Michael Whelan. And, the best part is that it's science.

For a preview of what you can expect in the book, watch this short video on

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