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G I TAYLOR LECTURE - Making Nanoscience and Nanotechnology useful

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Nanotechnology started hitting the headlines in the early 1990s as though appearing from nowhere. Governments vied to throw hundreds of billions of dollars at scientists and engineers amidst claims that it would ‘cure cancer within 10 years’, and that ‘the possibilities to create new things appear limitless’. So what is the reality in 2013? There is no question that we now have tools that allow us to characterise and fabricate at the scale of atoms and molecules in an unprecedented fashion. In this sense a whole new world of opportunity has been opened. But as in all new areas of science the translation to application and public acceptance is both time consuming and fraught. Drawing on my own experience going back to 1985, I will explore some of the quite remarkable insights into the material world that nanoscience and nanotechnology has furnished and will describe some of my own more recent work that, for me, epitomises the intellectual challenges and real world opportunities of nano.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Philosophical Society series.

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