Questions and Answers
Vol. 3, Num. 9
Toumey here searches for a literature base to explain to the layperson what nanotechnology means. Analyzing titles like Nanotechnology for Dummies, Nanotechnology: A Gentle Introduction to the Next Big Idea, Nanotechnology 101 and Soft Machines, Toumey looks for something that is both informative for the average person and not insulting to anyone with more than a passing understanding of the field. He breaks down the books not just on their scientific content and level of experience required but also with an eye toward such things as readability, an important concept when recommending a text to a novice. He finds certain problems, such as the description of a nanometer (the diameter of a human hair being between 60,000 and 120,000 nm, depending on the book referenced) or the application of nanotechnology (the Space Elevator, more science fiction than science at this point), to be endemic throughout these pieces, but he still finds uses for them all. In the end, he prescribes that one recommend not one book but many to the interested party, if only to demonstrate the multiple interpretations of the field existent.