The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) defines nanotechnology as “science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers.”
Wait, the United States has a research and development program dedicated to this tiny field? Yes, we do. The NNI was established in 2000 to assist in the collaboration of new nano sciences and to ensure responsible development.
This small scale science can be applied to all other fields of science, from chemistry to engineering, aiming to study and manipulate molecules and atoms at an individual level. Nanotechnology has only been around for abut 30 years, because without today’s ultraprecision machines and microscopes, we could not see such small particles.
One of the most popular recent nano-inventions is graphene, a crystalline form of carbon one atom layer thick. Learn more about the developments of nanotechnology from Buford Price, Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley, in “Adventures on an Ultrasmall Scale,” as he takes us through nuclear tracks in solids to microbial life in polar ice.
UCSD-TV wants to acknowledge the accomplishments of women in science, with the hope of nurturing more female scientists and encouraging other women to get involved in this exciting field.
There have been many great women scientists whose discoveries have been undercut based on their gender. For example, Rosalind Franklin remains the unsung hero who played a pivotal role in the discovery of DNA’s double helix structure with her X-ray diffraction images. She was out-shined by Watson and Crick, the two men who took full credit for the discovery.
And Rachel Carson, the author of “Silent Spring,” faced many personal attacks on her intelligence and credibility because she was smart enough to recognize and brave enough to tell about the devastation caused by large chemical companies. These corporations claimed that because she was a woman her facts were not to be trusted.
Although we would like to think that these sort of prejudices have faded from society, it is important to remember heroes like Franklin and Carson to celebrate women’s scientific accomplishments of the past and support women’s future in science.
We’ve been to the moon and we’ve explored remote corners of our universe. What is next in our quest to unlock the secrets of our solar system?
Hear from Charles Kennel, chair of the National Academy’s Space Science Board and former Scripps Institution of Oceanography director, as he reviews NASA’s past accomplishments, present projects, and anticipated goals in “The Future of Human Space Exploration.”
To see more programs on Astrophysics and Space Science, visit our archive.
The Perseid meteor shower has been observed streaking though our night sky for over 2000 years. In early to mid-August, Earth passes through the debris stream of the Swift-Tuttle comet. As space dust hits the atmosphere it creates extremely bright meteors know as the Perseids. The best nights to view the shower this year are August 11th and 12th, with meteors starting as early as 10 pm and increasing in frequency until dawn. Grab a lawn chair, head outside and enjoy the show!
Sadly, we learned today that Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, UC San Diego Professor Emeritus, and an advocate for science education, passed away at her home in San Diego. She was 61.
The UC San Diego campus, where Ride became Professor of Physics in 1989, is already relatively quiet this summer break, but the news of Ride’s premature passing due to pancreatic cancer has created a more somber tone. Her loss will obviously also be felt at the San Diego-based company she founded, Sally Ride Science, which provided science education materials and assistance to teachers and schools.
In February 2011, Ride visited UC Berkeley to deliver the UC Berkeley Physics Regent’s Lecture titled “Reach for the Stars with Sally Ride.” In the talk, which aired on UCSD-TV last April, Ride advocates for a stronger foundation of math and science education by describing her own path into the space program. There’s no better way to honor this distinguished woman’s memory than listening to her heartfelt dream that every student — not just future rocket scientists — learn to love math and science.