“Selling out” on nanotechnology outreach

October 27, 2007

Somewhere, I must have taken a wrong turn in my life.  Three years ago, I was a serious scientist, doing research no-one understood, and writing papers no-one read. Now I find myself making videos about cream cakes.

It all started to go amiss when I got mixed up with a crowd with crazy ideas about engaging people on science.  First it was the small stuff—being interviewed by ten-year-olds about nanotechnology.  Before I knew it I was writing letters to fictional characters about nanotechnology policy (I’m still waiting for an answer from Arthur Weasley by the way…).  But this week I hit rock bottom: a video extolling the educational potential of an American artificial cream-stuffed sponge cake—the Twinkie! Read the rest of this entry »

People breathing in nanoparticles? Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman!

October 8, 2007

Admit it-deep down, your don’t really believe people will be exposed to engineered nanomaterials.  After all, most nanomaterials will be made in enclosed reactors, handled as precious commodities where not a particle can be spared, and irreversibly incorporated into a bewildering array of products.  And those that do start their life as nanoparticles will clump together in the blink of an eye, becoming nano-no-more before anyone can breathe them, touch them or (goodness forbid) eat them!

At least, that is how the argument goes.  Read the rest of this entry »