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Travels to the Nanoworld: Miniature Machinery in Nature and Technologyby Michael Gross
Synopses & Reviews
Our lives are about to be changed by new technologies that operate on a scale that is smaller than can be seen by the most optical microscopes. Devices inspired by living cells and measured in nanometers—billionths of a meter—are the basis of this nanotechnology revolution. In TRAVELS TO THE NANOWORLD, Miniature Machinery in Nature and Technology, Michael Gross takes us to this world to explore natural processes and new technologies that will make modern machines look like relics from the Stone Age.The living cell provides a starting point. All its vital processes, including chemical reactions, catalysis, movement, data storage and processing, and energy conversion, are directed and carried out by structures whose dimensions are on the nanometer scale. As biochemist have come to understand the mechanisms of this “nanotechnology of nature”, the chances of generating artificial systems of similar performance have grown rapidly.TRAVELS TO THE NANOWORLD provides the nonspecialist reader with an introduction into the background, current state and future prospects of this fascinating subject.We begin this journey into the nanoworld with a guided tour starting from molecules, the all-important building blocks of both biology and technology, that can form complex systems both in the cell and in the reaction tube. Complex molecules make up cells, cells make up organisms that evolve to a variety of species, including one that invented technology as we know it. Technology has returned to the small scale and has arrived at the molecular level once again.We continue this trek, the major developments and success stories in the exploration and utilization of these natural and synthetic nanoworlds. These highlights of cutting-edge research are grouped into the more biological approaches, including workings of proteins, genes, and cells, followed by the development of applications including supramolecular chemistry, small-scale technology, and biotechnology.TRAVELS TO THE NANOWORLD concludes with a discussion of present applications and future prospects for nanotechnology. The exciting revolutionary potential of nanotechnology is balanced by a cautionary note emphasiszing the need for us all to be well informed about the technological path we are heading toward.
Our lives are about to be changed by new technologies that operate on a scale too small to be seen by even the most powerful optical microscopes. Devices measured in nanometers — billionths of a meter — have set off a nanotechnology revolution. In Travels to the Nanoworld, Michael Gross takes us deep into this miniature universe and describes natural processes and new technologies that will make modern machines look like relics from the Stone Age. Starting with the model of the living cell, whose vital processes are directed and carried out by structures with dimensions on the nanometer scale, Gross shows how biochemists are beginning to understand the mechanisms of the "nanotechnology of nature". Soon science will have the knowledge and technology to generate artificial systems that will perform similar tasks, and through them will find new treatments for disease, substitutes for toxic waste, and alternatives to carbon fuel.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 237-248) and index.
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