Did you hear the one about nanotechnology and football…


Mentions of nanotechnology in the popular press always interest me, but I wasn’t expecting this one: what do the England football team and nanotechnology have in common?

Well, the answer (which, to be fair, is quite contrived) can be found on page 94 of the Times today, in a story written by Martin Samuel.

The story opens with a simple statement:

There are many things that can be done with a spare 201 minutes.

Then follows a list of suggestions, some of them quite appealing (to me at least), such as watching Peter Jackson’s ‘The Return of the King’, and some of them not so, such as travelling from Plymouth station to Birmingham New Street – presumably by train, but that is left for the reader to assume.

My favourite however, is this suggestion:

The more scientifically minded may wish to attend a seminar entitled Computational Nanotechnology: Multiscale Modeling of Nanomaterials, by Kyeongjae Cho, of Stanford University, lasting 3hr 21min precisely.

So, what does this have to do with the England football team? Well, 201 minutes is, for all you Americans out there who love these sports statistics, the average length of time between goals scored by Michael Owen for England, when partnered with Wayne Rooney. Who knew!?

Contrived, yes, but where else will you find a story about Owen and Rooney that uses that kind of analogy – priceless!


Stuart Cantrill (Associate Editor, Nature Nanotechnology)

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