What is Nano Science?

Nano science, when you break down the term, comes from two words. There’s the Greek word, “nanos,” which means dwarf, and another word we’re already familiar with, science. Simply put, it adds up to ‘science of the small.’ Specialized scientists primarily study objects that — when measured by what’s called a nano meter scale — are between 1 and 100 nano meters in size.

The study of nano science is more than just the ability to better see and quantify small things, however. By becoming more educated about molecular properties, scientists are more able to put elements together in better defined ways in order to create new materials with previously unforeseen values.

So, in practical terms, nano science can be applied to a wide variety of fields. For instance, it can be used in food processing to improve ingredients, such as flavoring. It can also be incorporated to enhance how edibles are colored. Even more importantly, nano science can be helpful to medical fields. A good example of this application is how nano science can aid in the discovery of cancerous bacteria in the human body, particularly at early stages. Did you know that blood thinner, which is necessary to regulate blood level in the body, is yet another use of nano structure particles? Without a doubt, doctors appreciate nano science.

Even manufacturers in Detroit design car and truck brakes to be more effective by improving the liquids used in disc brake systems. Nano science is also applied to making engines stronger. Furthermore, auto builders have discovered that nano paint for cars makes vehicles much more water and dirt resistant, and also decreases scratches and chips. Aesthetically, nano paints make for brighter colors and glossier finishes. You could say the motor city is also becoming much more nano-scientific.

Nano science may be the study of small things, but this expanding field is expected to grow even larger in the near future. It’s anticipated to comprise approximately 15% of global manufacturing output in just a few years, and will soon be worth multiple billions of dollars. Before long, nano science will make up half of electronic manufacturing alone, for instance. The United State is expected to invest millions of dollars in nanotechnologies related to cancer research over the next five years. Clearly, there is big money in this science of the small.

Of course, you don’t even have to be a science buff to be exposed to nano science. If you think about it, DNA — the tiny essential molecule that carries our genetic blueprint — may well be the ultimate natural tool for nanotechnology. If you watch one of those CSI shows on television, or just about any detective show for that matter, you will almost certainly hear DNA evidence discussed. And let’s not forget that cop shows are based on real life crime stories. The newspapers and TV news programs are filled with stories about criminals that have been caught because of DNA evidence, or convicts set free from prison because DNA evidence vindicated them. If you stop and think about it, the use of nano science is nearly everywhere.

Much like the Dr. Seuss story, Horton Hears a Who, nano science proves that just because something cannot be seen with the naked eye, doesn’t mean it’s not extremely important. Rather, once particles can be seen for what they truly are, only then can they be fully appreciated, studied and utilized. The existence of nano science is a reminder that a little can go a long, long way.