An interesting part of Dr. Gimzewski's lecture was his discussion about the first to conceptual talk about nanotechnology in 1959, Mr. Richard Feynman. He gave a talk called, "There's plenty of room at the bottom," where he suggested how much room there was at the atomic level to create new technology, that could change the world. Feynman was very interested in manipulating things at an atomic scale, and was determined to prove that there was infinite room for growth. One of his challenges was for someone to write 25,000 pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica on a pin head. He would later find that it is possible to write 260,000,000 pages of the Encyclopedia on a pin head. He also realized that on the "nanoscale," the laws of physics change, as thermal jittering and surface tension dominate gravity, and quantum mechanics takes over for Newton's classical mechanics.
Self assembly or self organization are key to nanotechnology but are not new in terms of nature, as nature has always self organized. There are examples, such as the snowflake, which assembles into unique and beautiful patterns from frozen water molecules or the fractal nature of trees as each tree has a unique fractal nature. These are all composed of atoms and have some how been directed into complex patterns by simple self organization. The Blue Morpho butterfly is an example of this on the nano scale. The fluorescent blue wings of the Morpho butterfly are not made up of a pigment but instead made up of "christmas tree" like structures that are surrounded by air and protein, which manipulates light on the nanoscale and reflect back the fluorescent blue color.
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