Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Science Cafe

The blog lazily but smartly went to a Science Cafe presentation on nanotechnology at Foothills Brewing in downtown Winston. Despite the well-known affinity of science and beer, the venue was too noisy. We did learn, however, that we could prepare for a satisfying job in the field of nanotechnology with a two year degree. We also got to see the Nanosurf easyScan2 atomic force microscope, but we couldn't understand from the presenter's brief explanation how it worked. Turns out to be highly versatile: the teeny-tiny nanoscale probe can map a surface by touching it, tapping it, having the vibrations induced in it by a surface measured with a laser, or by monitoring the ability of the probe tip to form transient chemical bonds with the scanned material. The presenter didn't address the eerie beauty of the nano-images that can be created with the atomic force microscope, but the potential has not escaped the notice of scientists who secretly want to be artists. In addition to the contest entry shown above (NOT one of Jon's photos), more nano-images can be viewed here.

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