2017: Sustainable Nano Year in Review

Happy 2018!

It’s hard to believe, but our very first Sustainable Nano blog post, Why are Nanomaterials So Special and What is the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology?, was published five years ago, on January 29, 2013! We’ve come a long way – 262 published posts, including 22 episodes of the podcast since its launch in fall 2016.


Sustainable Nano is the outreach arm of the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, a multi-institute Center for Chemical Innovation funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. Researchers in the Center published 21 papers in scientific journals in 2017, and have two already on the books for 2018. You can see a running list of publications from the Center here.

Obviously scientific papers are very important, but this post is about Sustainable Nano…

So how did the blog do in 2017? We had over 125,000 pageviews overall, with visitors from 196 different countries! We published 31 blog posts written by undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff from the Center, plus twelve podcast episodes, and we did data collection for a small research study about the blog at the Minnesota State Fair (stay tuned for more on that later this spring).

Here are a few of our most popular blog posts from the past year, in case you missed them:

These new posts had anywhere from 375 to over 1,000 views each, but our most popular post for this year and over the five year life of the blog is one from 2013: How do Lithium Ion Batteries Work? A Nanotechnology Explainer by then-graduate-student Julianne Troiano, with over 44,000 views total. (Just goes to show that lithium ion batteries continue to be pervasive in our tech-saturated lives, and we are curious about how they work.)


lithium ion battery pack
Lithium-ion batteries – lots of people wonder how they work! (image by Mark Hunter)

On the podcast side of things, we are very proud to have had almost 5,000 downloads of our episodes during 2017! Our most-downloaded episodes so far are:

Here’s a cool new feature from our podcast host, Simplecast: download locations! It’s still in beta so we only have a few weeks’ worth of information, but we’re delighted to see that we have a cohort of listeners outside the U.S. Greetings to our listeners in Japan, New Zealand, India, Norway, Brazil, Russia, and Ireland!

podcast map
A screenshot of our podcast downloads mapped by city over three weeks.

We have a slate of exciting new podcast episodes in progress for this spring already, including interviews with genetics professor Dr. Ahna Skop (@foodskop) and plant pathologist Dr. Wade Elmer.

Looking for more from Sustainable Nano? You can interact with us on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to email updates from the blog by scrolling up near the top of this page to find the form on the right.

Thanks for reading the Sustainable Nano blog. We’re excited to embark on our next five years of communicating about sustainability, nanotechnology, and life in science!