The basic unit of nature at the nano-scale provides a common scientific ground for the creation of knowledge, innovation and technology integration.
At scales from 1 to 100 nanometers (nano-scales), the union of atoms and molecules organized into nanomodules (the so-called nanostructures) generally produces a series of well-defined properties and functions for all materials and living organisms.
Nano-scale phenomena have been playing a key role in the evolution of the universe and life for billions of years, but our interest in developing measurements as well as a basic understanding of the nano-scale foundations is only recent.
Knowledge reflected by nanoscience research papers and nanotechnology patents is estimated to grow by two orders of magnitude from 2000 to 2020.
Such fast growth will change our understanding of nature and revolutionize productivity, healthcare, our perception of the world and communication media. Such growth will lead to other innovative technologies and social changes oriented towards the improvement of quality of life and sustainable development.
At the same time, changes to infrastructure, the education system and worker training will be deemed necessary. This will change politics, culture and even human potential.
Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology,
National Science Foundation, Virginia, USA
8th World Conference on the Future of Science
Venice, September 16th-18th 2012