A dry, verbose attempt to drum up interest in nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology is involved with structures and crystals at the atomic level, with the construction of teeny-weeny things that have a big impact in the everyday world, from running shoes to cancer research. Problems start cropping up from the get-go: In attempting to explain the wee nature of the nano—pictured here as a sort of atomic marble in musketeer gloves and boots—the authors go overboard. After one explanation: “That’s still pretty hard to picture, though, so let’s try this.” Then, a couple paragraphs later, “Let’s try explaining Nano’s size in another way.” Let’s not; we get the picture. Really small. The text is relentless and endless, and hopes that enhancements—few and far between—will come to the rescue are thwarted with mostly meaningless animated clips, though high marks are given for reproductions from electron and scanning-probe microscopes. Then comes a short visit with Richard Feynman that fails to explore his quirkiness or why he thought small was the wave of the future, and next a long litany of how nanoscience will affect everything from medical research to hockey sticks and cosmetics. But when you have to write to your audience, “I don’t know about you, but I think the idea of using magnetism to focus a beam of electrons on an atom is really cool,” that’s what is known as dead in the water.
For so little a subject, such a crushing weight of words. (Nonfiction enhanced e-book. 12 & up)