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 …

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 …

How Do Skis Ski, and How Do Nanomaterials Make Skiing More Fun?

different types of skiing

‘Tis the season for snowy weather here in the Upper Midwest! There are many ways to enjoy snow, but ever since my parents strapped a pair on my feet at the mature age of 3 years old, my favorite way to celebrate winter has been on skis. From carving downhill (like Figure 1a) to cranking …

Nature’s nanotechnology, bio-mimicry, and making the superpowers of your dreams a reality

Only over the past 20 years have we begun to harness the unique properties of nano-scale materials, while nature has been using nano- “technology” since the beginning of time to prevent infections, repel water, create colors, and climb vertical surfaces.  Inspired by nature’s advances, scientists and engineers are generating biomimetic applications for nanotechnology in today’s …