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Nanoscience will change the way we think about the world
Date:3/20/2008

Blacksburg, Va. -- The ubiquity of mineral nanoparticles in natural waters, the atmosphere, and in soils and their intriguing properties provide Earth scientists with another dimension in which to understand our planet.

So states a team of scientists from seven universities in a review article in the March 21, 2008, issue of Science, Nanominerals, Mineral Nanoparticles, and Earth Chemistry.

The way minerals influence earth is more complex than previously thought. Physical, chemical, and biological processes on Earth are either influenced or driven by the physical and chemical properties of minerals, of which 4,500 species have been described. Minerals have an enormous range of physical and chemical properties due to a wide range of composition and structure, including particle size.

When the National Science Foundation wanted expert opinion on the important questions that need to be addressed in order to advance the understanding of nanoparticles in the environment, they contacted Michael Hochella Jr. to assemble a group of cutting-edge young scientists with new ideas, he said. Hochella, university distinguished professor of geobiosciences at Virginia Tech, is a pioneer in the field whose research is funded by NSF, among others. While we were together, we thought, why not write our study and submit it to Science, Hochella said.

The article looks at the field, where its come from, where its going, and how it is going to change the way we think about geoscience and the world, he said. A perspective article is a great challenge to write, considering Sciences limits on length and number of citations, he added.

The authors are Hochella; his former Ph.D. students Steven K. Lower, now a professor in the School of Earth Sciences and School of Environment and Natural Resources at the Ohio State University, and Patricia A. Maurice, now professor of civil engineering and geological sciences and director of the Center for Env
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Contact: Susan Trulove
STrulove@vt.edu
540-231-5646
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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