Thursday, December 29, 2011


This is a rarely-heard-of topic here in Guyana but one that science and technology students and practitioners need to have some awareness of since we will soon be using products of nanotechnology (if we are not already) or even using the technology directly. I made reference to it back in 2009.

What is nanotechnology? This technology is about manipulating matter at the nanometer scale (less than a thousandth of a millimetre). Often it involves manipulating individual atoms or molecules. For more see here. It has huge areas of application, for example the performance of rechargable batteries and solar cells can be greatly improved and materials made 10 or 100 times stronger.

A recent video by Dr Drexler at Oxford discusses the impact of this technology

"In a talk entitled “Exploring a Timeless Landscape: Physical Law and the Future of Nanotechnology”, pioneering nanotechnology researcher Dr. Drexler invited the audience to consider the intriguing possibility of nano-level manufacture of macro-level products. Such a process, if achieved, would be the next great revolution in the material basis of civilization, offering high-performance components, materials or systems and accelerated productivity."

The talk is about an hour and covers various aspects of the historical development of technology before moving on to nanotechnology. Very good.

"Fruit Trees and Useful Plants in Amazonian Life"

This is the title of a study co-produced by the UN which sounds like it will be a gold mine of useful knowledge regarding our own forests. According to a BBC report:
"The 353-page book, Fruit Trees and Useful Plants in Amazonian Life - co-produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Center for International Forestry Research (Cifor) and People and Plants International (PPI) - profiles a range of species that offer communities a range of uses."
This document is a free download (PDF) using a link in the article (also given below).

Fruit Trees and Useful Plants in Amazonian Life