Small talk


Nano – a small word, with big consequences.


Like many other four-letter words, this one is quite controversial, even more so when tacked on the front of other words such as ‘science’ or ‘technology’. Once a simple descriptor of scale, ‘nano’ has evolved into a highly emotive prefix, one that conjures-up many different things for many different people; from tiny self-replicating nanobots charting courses through our veins, to the revolution of computation and beyond!

Frightening some and fascinating others – after all, one man’s tiny terror is another’s miniature marvel – nano is now. With its own band of scholars and skeptics, it seems as though nanotechnology is here to stay. That being the case, what role does chemistry have to play in this truly multidisciplinary pursuit, in short, how does chemistry fit into the big (or should that be ‘small’) picture?

The message from the American Chemical Society is clear: at the 231st National Meeting later this month in Atlanta, Georgia, nanotechnology is one of three featured multidisciplinary themes. With 50 different symposia listed under this general heading, the ACS obviously recognises that chemistry is one of the fundamental foundations upon which a lot of nanotechnology is built.

The number of nanotechnology-related papers is growing rapidly, and while the pages of Nature and its other research journals have featured some pioneering nano work (as they will continue to do), other topics compete for this space. So, here at Nature Publishing Group, we feel that the time is right for a new journal, one that is dedicated specifically to nanotechnology in its broadest context. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce Nature Nanotechnology.

Launching in October 2006, Nature Nanotechnology will publish high-quality original research from all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology, including chemistry, physics, materials science, the life sciences and engineering. Each issue will feature review articles, news and views, reports highlighting important papers published in other journals, commentary and analysis. Preparations are well underway, and our Call for Papers will be made on March 27th, to coincide with the upcoming ACS meeting.

We hope to engage the global nanoscience and nanotechnology community, and to encourage the exchange of ideas between physical scientists, life scientists, engineers and other researchers who are active at the frontiers of this diverse and multidisciplinary field. As chemistry is a central science in this field, I hope that chemists will be eager to contribute to Nature Nanotechnology.

I will be attending the upcoming ACS meeting, so feel free to track me down at one of the many nano sessions or through Nature’s booth at the exposition. I look forward to many small-minded discussions!

So, fact or fiction? Hype or hope? What does nanotechnology mean to you?


Stuart Cantrill (Associate Editor, Nature Nanotechnology)

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