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Understanding the Nanotechnology Revolution Paperback – 4 Apr 2012
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Students in materials science, chemistry, biology, or various engineering disciplines might be interested as well. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower–and upper–division undergraduates, two–year technical program students, and general readers. (Choice, 1 November 2012)
From the Back Cover
This is a unique introduction for general readers to the underlying concepts of nanotechnology, covering a wide spectrum ranging from biology to quantum computing.
The material is presented in the simplest possible way, including a few mathematical equations, but not mathematical derivations. It also outlines as simply as possible the major contributions to modern technology of physics–based nanophysical devices, such as the atomic clock, global positioning systems, and magnetic resonance imaging. As a result, readers are able to establish a connection between nanotechnology and day–to–day applications, as well as with advances in information technology based on fast computers, the internet, dense data storage, Google searches, and new concepts for renewable energy harvesting.
This book may also be of interest to professionals working in law, finance, or teaching who wish to understand nanotechnology in a broad context, and as general reading for electrical, chemical and computer engineers, materials scientists, applied physicists and mathematicians, as well as for students of these disciplines.See all Product description
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Regrettably, I was only able to glean a few new scrapes of information, and in the process, had to slog through a meandering text loaded with redundancies and random factoids, strung together for no seeming rhyme nor reason. The introduction was, by far, the worst, so the reader gets off to a very bad start. One other reviewer commented that the book could have used a good editor, but I think the problem is far deeper than an editing clean-up. To cite a few examples: On page 4, a paragraph commences with: "For lack of good clocks, this option was not available to sea captains until after 1760, with the invention of an accurate portable clock, the `marine chronometer' by John Harrison." The NEXT paragraph commences with: "A great advance came in 1759 with the invention of the accurate marine chronometer. This clock, based on a spring oscillator, was invented in stages by John Harrison..." In terms of random factoids conveniently located in the same sentence: "It is reported that in fourth century BC the Greek wind- and human-powered merchant fleet went all the way from Spain to the Black Sea, and of course Julius Caesar invaded Egypt by sea." A couple pages later there is a whole paragraph of inventions, and their dates. In another section, the authors proclaim: "...and bones carved with prime numbers were found as early as 8500 BC." But never explain the significance of it! Indeed, what were these folks, still somewhat before the development of agricultural communities, doing with prime numbers? Figure 1.1description commences with: "A speculative but date-based map of human migrations..." and the figure clearly depicts humans originating from the area of modern day India, yet in a footnote to this same introduction, they say: "Homo sapiens, the earliest humans whom we will consider, originated in Africa some 200,000 years ago, and according to some accounts, coalesced into a small group surviving drought about 50,000 years ago in the `horn of Africa' from whence they migrated to populate the globe." Ugh! No reconciliation of these random and contradictory facts is ever attempted.
Once beyond the intro, by comparison, the narrative did improve, but only by comparison. For example, there are two chapters on the "scaling" of things; essentially that matter operates under different rules in the "Newtonian" or "everyday" world of sizes we are familiar with, and those of the very small, which operate under the rules of quantum mechanics. But they stuck a chapter on DNA in between. Sure, DNA is "small" and there are some technologies used to help define DNA strands, but it is a bit of a "push" from IT applications.
For me, the most informative chapters were those that covered the technological principles behind by latest terabyte external memory drive (it's atomic force microscope cantilevers) and the increasingly familiar medical MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine. They conclude the book with some speculative looks into the future, involving single-electron transistors and quantum computers. Overall, the material could have been quite fascinating in better hands; for this exposition, 2-stars.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
"Our hope in writing this book is to promote broader understanding of the existing nanotechnology and its underlying nanophysics, and its role in the ongoing information revolution, and to help show how it may it may provide a bridge to the future." The co-authors succeeded in that over-wall goal.
The book doesn't get too technical and mostly concentrates on discussing the field from a broad viewpoint. "Nanotechnology is expertise and methods relating to small-size objects, on sizes below 100 mm or about 0.1% the size of a human hair. A leading example of nanotechnology is the silicon chip that may contain a billion units that operate at frequencies above 1 GHz, a billion operations per second. "
The authors also include in their "discussion of nanotechnology those devices that depend upon engineering knowledge of atomic-scale phenomena, including electron and proton spins, in modern disk-drive readers and in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), respectively. Nanotechnology has been, and will continue to be, a leading part in the advances in communications and computing components of the information technology and Internet advances that are transforming our way of life."
In 14 Chapters with lots of subchapters the authors present their overview of the field. Title names include "Discovery, Invention, and Science in Human Progress" and "Smaller is More, Usually Better, and Sometimes Entirely new!"
The final chapter, "Looking into the Future," tells how nanotechnology will revolutionize the world. Some of the promises are wonderful, but for laymen like this reader who is not a scientist or engineer, all the wonderful promises must be accepted more or less on pure faith. The mechanics and engineering of nanotechnology machines and devices are a total mystery and this book doesn't attempt to go into the details of that engineering. If it did, it would definitely be too technical for its intended readership.
The book is written for the layperson, but even then it is slow going and barely understandable. It reminded this reader of a guide intended for businessmen or venture capitalists who will be selling and financing the development of these technologies. Those business people don't necessarily have to know all the engineering in order to see how important these technologies will be if they can actually be made available to the public. This is an overview of the field.
"The vast improvements from the abacus to the Pentium chip exemplify the promise of nano-technology." --A visionary prediction by Intel's Gordon Moore
What is Nanotechnology? What does it add to technological advances, and what is its impact on our lives? Such simple questions may not have simple definite answers, due to various nascent aspects of nanotechnology. Understanding the Nanotechnology Revolution explains the basics in clear language, to the novice or uninitiated who may find it overwhelming to conceive and appreciate it.
Dr Wolf adopts Thomas Kuhn's structure of scientific revolution, and applies it to Nanotechnology with great success. Early on, the authors show us a glimpse of the revolution which has erupted over the past several decades that spanned the information explosion and retrieval, introducing readers to a major aspect of technological change related to small devices, known as Nanotechnology.
In the review of the history of technology, we learn of a bank of know how and devices accelerating the advance of technology, applies to Nanotechnology in the example of a silicon chip. Even as the articulate author and his promising contributor present the facts in a simple and easily comprehensible way, the book's pace matches the fast evolution of a technology that spreads in all directions, from the atomic clock to the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Illuminated with fine figures and sketches, including a funny cartoon! The concise Nanotech teaser concludes with a look into the future, which already started in chapter 13, and continued its visionary review with ideas, people, and technologies. This reader friendly survey of modern science and technology helped me bridging the gap in our understanding of daily tools as GPS, or my own field of engineering, to new concepts of renewable energy technology.