Animating the small stuff

Are nanotechnology Grand Challenges too grand for you?  Do Strategic Research Frameworks lead to you contemple a strategic withdrawal?  Have you prioritized just one too many research needs?  You are clearly in need of The Adventures of Nanoman—now available on YouTube.

Nanoman was created last December as an antidote to what could have been an extremely dull and boring after-dinner lecture.  The three lego-mation shorts illustrate “Three Petite Challenges for Nano in the Workplace”—small (but important) things that wouldn’t cause indigestion at the end of a long day and full meal as readily as, say, Five Grand Challenges for Safe Nanotechnology!  They are the creations of Alex Maynard (10 years old) who, in what is becoming a Maynard tradition, bailed his father out of a tight spot.

And the petite challenges?

  1. Measurement—developing an aerosol sampler that measures number, surface area and mass simultaneously, logs the data, is wearable and, above all, is cheap (video).
  2. Dustiness—evaluating the potential of nanomaterials to release particles into the air (video).  and
  3. Good Practices—developing ways of working as safely as possible with engineered nanomaterials (video).

So why not grab a cup of coffee, settle down in a comfy chair, and be entertained as Nanoman grapples with some of the smaller challenges we face in developing safe nanotechnologies.

The Adventures of Nanoman originally aired at the Nanotechnology Occupational and Environmental Health & Safety Conference in December 2006.  Alex Maynard developed the concepts, filmed the animation and edited the shorts—with minimal input from me.  And what of the challenges themselves?  Why not scroll to the “comments” box below, and discuss whether you think we are making any progress towards them.


This post first appeared on the SAFENANO blog in December 2007

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