11/21/2006

They don't see him rollin'

For my first post (short as it will be), I'd like to pay homage to the most, er, unique proof-of-concept of nanotechnology I've seen to date. out of the Tour group at Rice (the reigning king of proof-of-concepts) comes... Nanocars! Yes, Nanocars. Cars that are about four nanometers in diameter, have Buckyballs for wheels and roll around on gold surfaces, using external voltages for power.

You might ask yourself, "Umm... what? Why?" I don't know. This is what the Tour group does. They take their incredibly sophisticated array of nanoscale techniques and... make nanocars and molecules that look like people. I'm not sure if this is a stroke of genius or if Tour just gets paid a lot of money to fuck around with nanotech, but either way you slice it, they won't be catchin him ridin' dirty. (Unless they had an STM. Which they might.)

Nevertheless, the nanocar's applications, which probably won't have a direct impact per se on society, are definitely a great way to get the public interested in nanotechnology. Tour's rather evangelical nature certainly will help pave the way for other, more potentially useful applications. Like nanoMinivans to haul around nanoKids that are driven by nanoMoms that constantly cut nanoMe off because their nanoLives are that much more nanoImportant. Not like that would ever happen to me in the macroscale, though.

10 comments:

Ψ*Ψ said...

Strange (and maybe pointless) as it may be, the nanocar thing actually got the man interested in chemistry. Only for about a minute, though. I'm working on him.

Mitch said...

"Don't worry there are plenty of nanocars to go around for everyone."

Sorry kids, but you would of had to been at Fall ACS to get that joke. Check out his 'sigfig fable': http://www.ruf.rice.edu/%7Ekekule/TourLabGuidelines6.pdf

mitch said...

The last part of the link got chopped off, but should of been

/%7Ekekule/TourLabGuidelines6.pdf

Mike said...

I don't know whether it is sad or good to develop things like this to attract public interest for funding...

Excimer said...

I like to think of it as not unlike the Space Shuttle. Frankly, I don't think we got much real science out of going up into space once a year, but it probably inspired more kids to consider science as a career than anything else in this country. PR stunts like this serve a purpose, and I'd argue it's a good thing, because I think a lot of future scientists were probably inspired to do science by something similarly silly and pointless- at least in the context of the scientific community.

Mike said...

I agree as long as they contribute something useful to the science community on the way as well. I suppose it also serves the development of new techniques, nevertheless it's kind of ridiculous...

FeLiXe said...

I am just wondering if it has good gas nanometerage

Ashutosh said...

The solution to dependence on cheap oil- switch to nanocars.

uncle sam said...

A prof at my university blew a fuse after he saw the nanocar article on the cover of a journal. I agree. Maybe it belongs on the cover of a newspaper though. Still, it's a good way to get that prof angry in a few seconds. Just walk past him and say, "Hey, do you remember that nanocars article?". It a good trick if you want to see someone's face color change to a bright shade of amber in just a few seconds.

It doesn't help that the said prof is Jewish and despises "Jews for Jesus" (i.e. James Tour) who are happy to tell the entire world about it.

sks said...

It is like going to the circus, things that i wouldn't do, but i would surely enjoy watching.
i am just waiting to see the whole paraphrenallia, nano-lanes, nano-traffic lights, nano-traffic police and a nano-high-speed chase on a nano-TV.