Are transistors getting too small? (How small is too small?)

Did you know that the world’s first computers filled entire rooms? Now we can carry even more computing power than those early machines in the palm of our hands, thanks to advancements in nano- and transistor technology. Transistors are the components in a computer that control the flow of electricity and therefore allow the computer …

A Quick Peek Into Computational Chemistry

When talking about chemists, what image comes to your mind? Labs, tubes, beakers, colorful solutions, turning dirt into gold... Yes, yes, those images represent some parts of chemistry in a general way, but did you know that there exists a group of chemists whose main task is to code? (For example, check out this video.) …

What is Machine Learning and How is it Changing Physical Chemistry and Materials Science?

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When I talk about artificial intelligence (AI), the usual images that come to mind are from fiction: Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the cyborg from The Terminator, or perhaps the gloomy world of The Matrix. Since March 2016, however, the poster child for real-world AI has become AlphaGo, the computer program developed by Google Deepmind …

2016: The Start of a New… Decade? Part 2

In 2005, Science magazine published their 125th anniversary issue and posed 25 of the biggest questions “facing science over the next quarter-century”.1 In my previous post, I talked about how, ten years later, the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology is tackling one of those questions: “How Far Can We Push Chemical Self-Assembly?”2 In today’s post, I’m …

How do Scientists Study Complex Chemical Systems?

Much of our work in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology lies in the realm of chemistry. That is to say, our work seeks to understand phenomena at the molecular level. For example, we want to know what molecules we can add to the surface of a nanoparticle to control how stable it is and how …

Citizen nanoscientists: Can you design nanomaterials from the couch?

Not too long ago, a team of frustrated scientists glanced up from their computer screens and saw the untapped potential beyond their lab doors. They had spent years trying to unravel the mysteries of protein folding, but some just couldn’t seem to be solved. Why not harness the brainpower of the public? The biochemists disguised …