Nanostructures in butterfly wings

A few weeks ago (before it started snowing!) I went on a walk in the garden across the street from the University of Wisconsin chemistry building and saw an abundance of beautiful butterflies. I noticed that the butterflies were iridescent in the sunlight as they fluttered from flower to flower. I wondered: does the iridescence …

It’s National Chemistry Week! What do Marvelous Metals have to do with nanotechnology?

Happy Mole Day! On October 23 we celebrate Avogadro's Number (6.02 x 1023), an important unit of measurement in chemistry. Every year, the American Chemical Society promotes the week that includes Mole Day as National Chemistry Week (NCW). This year, NCW is October 20-26, and the theme is Marvelous Metals. There are local events being …

#NationalNanoDay Linkfest

Happy National Nanotechnology Day! The National Nanotechnology Initiative chose October 9 (10/9) for this festival of all things nano in honor of the nanoscale, which is 10-9. In other words, a nanometer equals 0.000000001 meter! This year at Sustainable Nano we are mostly celebrating over on Twitter, but we hope you'll also enjoy this collection …

Seeing the Invisible

Human beings have been trying to figure out the elementary composition of the universe since the era of ancient Greece. Democritus, an ancient Greek philosopher, created atomic theory. In the atomic theory, everything is composed of “atoms” (from the Greek meaning “can’t be cut”) and these atoms are physically indivisible.1 The ancient Greeks speculated on …

Can We Make Nanoparticles More Sustainable?

DonOwens

Most of us are familiar with the concept of “side effects.” This is when something that is designed to be helpful ends up having some harm that goes along with it. For patients with cancer, anti-cancer drugs can be life-savers – literally. The benefits of using these drugs are apparent to anyone whose cancer has …

How Click Chemistry is Like Playing with LEGOs

LEGO blocks may be one of the simplest but most genius toys ever created, as evidenced by their popularity. Taking such simple building blocks that are modular and being able to create nearly endless different combinations of structures is liberating. On the other hand, it’s also great that LEGO can create a set of instructions …

Combining the Old With the New: using nanotechnology to enhance ancient medicines

You walk past a body products store on a weekend shopping trip and are immediately overtaken by fragrance, your nose saturated with floral, sugary and tropical scents. Intrigued by the promise of a candle sale, you venture in, perusing the soaps, mists, and candles. About ten free samples later, you find some products labeled ‘aromatherapy’ …

Nanostructures in chameleons, damselflies, and peacocks (oh my!)

My favorite rain jacket is bright blue. So bright, in fact, that my first semester chemistry professor was able to point it out in a class of 300 people to explain principles of visible light and color. As it happened, the class benefited from two examples that day, my jacket and my face which turned …

Celebrating Science at a Science Fiction Convention

I am a second-generation science fiction fan; my parents have been Star Trek fans since the ‘60s, and I grew up on PBS reruns of Doctor Who in the ‘80s. Like so many others, my appreciation for science fiction definitely played a role in developing my interests in real-world science. One of my favorite ways …