How can nanotechnology preserve stone cultural heritage sites?

Note: There has been much public discussion recently around preservation of public monuments. This blog post is about how science can play an important role in preserving historical monuments. Although people, including scientists, must make judgments about historical preservation, nothing in this post is intended to express any opinion on recent public discussions about those …

What is Aqua Regia, and what makes it royal?

Aqua regia, latin for “royal water”, is a fascinating, dangerous, and useful liquid that some of us in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology use on a regular basis. As I learned how to use this powerful material for my research, I started to wonder: What makes it royal? It turns out that aqua regia can …

An engineer as President??

Have you ever been to a presidential library? Each site is located in the home state of the president and they are maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration. The libraries contain exhibits, historical documents, and relics that reveal aspects of a former president’s personal life and professional career. Taken all together, the contents …

Celebrating Black History Month with Science

test tubes

Happy February, everyone! It's the month of Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day, but most importantly for this blog post, it's Black History Month. Here at Sustainable Nano, we're celebrating with a collection of relevant readings and resources that we think you'll enjoy. According to History.com, Black History Month was not a month but a week …

Teeny Tiny Motors That Fit in Your Body

Imagine tiny gadgets wandering around in your bloodstream, travelling into your cells to seek out infections and fight diseases... Does it sound too fantastic to be true? Let’s explore just how close this science fiction scenario is to a reality. Before we get too far into this story, let’s first see where the idea of …

Girls-in-STEM Programs & My Single-Sex Education Experience

Attending Spelman College helped me to realize my potential as a scientist and as a scholar. Sitting in a room full of women, the pressure of impressing members of the opposite sex removed, I was able to come into myself, build confidence and explore my role in scientific discourse. I did not realize how comfortable …

Space Elevator: A Lasting Dream for a Sky-reaching Tree

Ever since the first human being looked up to the starry night, the dream of chasing the stars and space has never stopped. A long way back, in ancient Northern European mythology, the world tree, Yggdrasil, was a holy tree in the center of the universe, connecting the heavens and the earth. In Jack and …

The Atomic Difference Between Diamonds and Graphite

Everything is made of atoms. Usually these atoms are strongly connected to one another, in an amazing variety of configurations. But atoms are so tiny, how can we possibly understand the structure of matter at the atomic level? You probably have seen pictures of molecules or materials, zoomed in to the atomic level, which show …

Nuclear Proliferation & Sustainability: the History of Nanodiamonds

Half a century ago, a Soviet scientist was tucked away in a top-secret facility. The results of his experiments are critical to our work here the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. Find it hard to believe? Read on!Why We Use NanodiamondsOne of the materials that we are using in our research is nano-sized diamond. We also …

“Leaning In” — Scientists’ Thoughts on Gender Equity

Last week, we scientists from the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, who usually use our weekly video conference calls to discuss science, spent time discussing the recently published book “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. This is not standard reading for chemists; in fact, it’s written for business people, but I was inspired to read it because …