Finally, some decent swag for us here at Nanodot: We have received a review copy of the Italian book Blow-up: Images from the Nanoworld mentioned here earlier. It lives up to its advertising, being a beautiful collection of nanoscale (and microscale) images by Lucia Covi, including AFM tips, nanodevices, quantum dots, nanowires, DNA, nanotubes, and so on. Text is in English and Italian, and includes material from Nobel winner Roald Hoffmann and Elisa Molinari. Hoffmann writes:
So why do some of these images seem “real,” and some “other-worldly”? The mind is a complex bioprocessor that takes one piece of a visual image and compares it with another, as well as with fragmentary similar images stored in the brain, or their abstractions.
Unattributed text on self-assembly:
The structures are usually much less costly than those obtained via top-down processes: here, however, the next challenge is to induce self-organization not only of individual nanostructures but also of complex connections and architectures.
Quite right. You’ll enjoy these images, and they should be useful in communicating at least some of your nanotech excitement to your nontechnical friends and relatives. While you’re waiting for the book, here is an adaptation of Hoffmann’s essay at American Scientist Online, and another version (pdf) based on the same ideas, published in the paper magazine American Scientist. —Christine