Nanoscience: giants of the infinitesimal

Peter Forbes, Tom Grimsey

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored


There’s an invisible revolution going on. As nature reconfigures the chemical elements to orchestrate the components of life, we too are learning to form new materials with astonishing properties. This is enabling us to gain a new control over the forces of light, electrical and chemical energy. As all of this is happening at the nano-scale the revolution is invisible, as the atoms and molecules, that comprise its ingredients, are much smaller than the wavelengths of visible light. We’re gaining experience in an often counter- intuitive world where gravity is insignificant and Newtonian Laws don’t always apply. Objects and materials don’t behave as we expect, nothing is ever still and everything is electromagnetically ‘sticky’. New tools and new approaches are needed. In Nanoscience: The Invisible revealed, fully illustrated throughout, sculptor Tom Grimsey and science writer Peter Forbes demonstrate that the phenomena of this realm of science are both visually and intellectually beautiful, not only a source for solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems but also an inspiration for new art forms. Science looks out into deep space in wonder but our actual presence there will always be limited. We look deep into the heart of the atom but can only understand its structure by breaking it. Between these two ends of the spectrum is Nanoscience, the fastest growing and most significant area of scientific exploration of our time. With its roster of astonishing new smart materials, nanoscience promises to cause real paradigm shifts in a range of areas. It has the potential for the clean harvesting of solar energy that could address global energy problems. Nano science will kick Moore’s supposed Law into touch with nano-photonics and nano-electronics that are creating a step change in computing power. Biomedical innovations such as targeted drug administration bring new precision to cancer treatments and nano controlled tissue generation to delicately repair our damaged bodies. Nanoscience could bring economic water desalination within the reach of the poorest countries for consumption and agriculture. We have our hands on a range of materials with greater strength, greater conductivity, and greater resistivity by orders of magnitude than anything ever made before. Learning how we can make them work together is changing the world around us. Forbes and Grimsey are working with leaders in the field and the book is full of new images of these latest ground breaking developments. The project follows the series of exhibitions ‘Giants of the Infinitesimal’ in which Tom Grimsey and the kinetic artist Theo Kaccoufa simulate the ways that nanoscience works and explore its potential for making art. See website -
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBerkshire
Number of pages192
ISBN (Print)190650623X
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


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