Architecture in nano-space

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Multidisciplinary research has developed the field of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. Molecules that “do things” are now being made. New experimental approaches focused on how atoms cluster together have led to the production of novel nanostructures and a general refocusing of research interests on controlling the self-assembly process. Fascinating fundamental insights into formation mechanisms have been revealed and nanoscale devices, which parallel devices in standard engineering, are now being created. On the horizon are possible applications ranging from civil engineering to advanced molecular electronics. Supercomputers in our pockets (as well as our heads) and buildings which can easily withstand powerful hurricanes and earthquakes may be possible.

Sir Harry Kroto was a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996 for his role in the discovery of the “Buckyball” – the molecule that has become the icon of what we now call “nanotechnology”. Refusing to rest on his laurels, however, Sir Harry has been heavily involved for more than a decade in creating platforms for scientists to communicate on TV and the Internet. Some years ago he set up the Vega Science Trust which makes science programmes for TV and the Internet and now he is focusing on Global Educational Outreach (GEO) – an Internet-based education initiative to persuade the world that knowledge of science engineering and maths is vital for our survival through the 21st century.

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