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Fun little movie on green nanotechnology

The Woodrow Wilson Center Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies has a cute short (8:25) movie posted in which Bethany Maynard interviews her dad Dr. Andrew Maynard and Dr. Barbara Karn on nanotech. Worth showing to kids, and even adults may enjoy it. The best part is when Bethany and her brother Alex apply mustard to her dad’s “nanotech” necktie to test its stain resistance. Surprisingly, it passes the test, which is pretty amazing if you’ve ever dealt with a mustard stain.

Andrew Maynard gives a good definition of nanotechnology, focusing on atomic precision — “being able to put atoms exactly where we want them to be” — which is a little confusing since the rest of the movie seems to focus on a broader definition. But we at Foresight like the atomic precision emphasis.

A tweak I would make is to the answer given to Bethany’s question “If we ever live on Mars, do you think green nanotechnology will help us to have gardens?” The answer given is: “I don’t think that any technology will actually be able to replace the gardens and the kind of planet that we have on Earth.” Not replace per se, but Bethany is asking whether nanotech could help us have gardens in space. My answer would be “Yes, certainly, and I expect it to happen in your lifetime — ideally even in mine.”

Overall, a nice little film. Let’s hope that Bethany gets her garden in space — even if it has to be built by China; see the last three graphics here on the Chinese space program. —Christine

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