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Big book explores a small world: Stuart Lindsay's guide to nanoscience
Date:2/4/2010

pace of scientific advance, particularly in nanoscience, Lindsay faced a daunting challenge. "I knew that some current issues in the field would become obsolete by the time my fingers left the keyboard." Hoping to produce a work that could remain relevant, Lindsay chose to include a wealth of fundamental principles that would be broadly applicable, regardless of the novel conditions students were likely to encounter in the future.

The book is divided into three parts. Part I (The Basics) is a self-contained introduction to quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics and chemical kinetics, requiring only basic college calculus. Part II (The Tools) covers microscopy, single molecule manipulation and measurement, nanofabrication and self-assembly. Part III (Applications) covers electrons in nanostructures, molecular electronics, nano-materials and nanobiology. "If you wander around the lab," Lindsay says, "you'll see dog-eared copies of the Xeroxed version of the book at students' desksit's really a compendium of everything I think they need to know in nanoscience."

Life in the nanoworld can be disconcerting to the uninitiated, so distinct are its workings compared with conditions of everyday experience. A nanometer is roughly 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Chance fluctuations dominate the scene and, as Lindsay stresses, provide vital raw material on which Darwinian selective processes operate. "The more I study the components of biology, the more I would say that fluctuations aren't just a nuisance to be lived withthey actually are the story of biology."

This leitmotif runs throughout the book, uniting many distinct areas of nanoscience. One such startling illustration of this central theme occurs near the end of the text, where Lindsay reviews important research into neural development in the fruit fly. Random fluctuations in gene expression and splicing serve to shuffle the genetic deck to produce an enormous numb
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Contact: Joe Caspermeyer
joseph.caspermeyer@asu.edu
480-727-0369
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert

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