Book Review: Introduction to Nanoscale Science and Technology

Oct 15, 2012 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

When I was first asked to review the book  “Introduction to Nanoscale Science and Technology” I was a little hesitant and apprehensive.  I mean, what do I know about nanoscale technology and would I be able to understand it, and write a cogent, coherent review.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I first want to acknowledge the authors or contributors to this book- Todd Crane, Richard Holz, John Ireland, Steve Lenhert and Deb Newberry. NanoInk ( apparently the publisher) also wanted to acknowledge Kristen Kulinowski, Jennifer Kuzma, Elijah Peterson, Robert Tanguay and Walt Trybula for their contributions to chapter 6.

Let me provide an overview of the book first and then discuss all the positives. There are six chapters to this book- and each chapters is impeccably organized into various sections- making for easy reading and easy comprehension. The chapters are :

1)      The Nanoscale

2)      Working at the Nanoscale

3)      Introduction to Nanophysics

4)      Introduction to Nanochemistry

5)      Introduction to Nanobiology

6)      Technical Evolution

None of the chapters had more than five sections which really made each chapter easily understandable and readable. I enjoyed reading the book, and either my high school teachers did a much better job than I ever gave them credit for, or the book is superlatively written so that a non-scientist like me could grasp all of these concepts.

Let me really praise the authors- They have a variety of aspects that make this book so much more readable than the average college text. They have nanofacts, a bit of nanohistory ( going back to Ben Franklin, Richard Feynman, and Buckminster Fuller ). There are various take home messages scattered throughout the text to really supplement the section reviews. There are some quick brief activities and some points to ponder. And lastly, they provide some web sites for future reference.

But, I really have to complement the authors on their choices of figures and pictures- they really are clear, crisp and concise and lend themselves to the understanding of the various concepts and abbreviations. Some of the abbreviations are readily recognizable, ( such as DNA, RNA ) but they slowly introduce new terminology and provide an understanding for each abbreviation( PCR , SAM, CNT,  ELISA, TEM-transitor electron microscope )

Along the way, we are reintroduced to some scientists and even given some background as to how the entire field fits together- from James Watson to Friedrich Wohler)

I first thought I would be overwhelmed by the mathematics, but again, either my college math instructors did a super job, or the authors have made exponential notation and the math simple enough so that even I could understand it.

The book is really a great introduction for college freshmen and I also have to add that the authors and publishers were not frugal with space, and have provided plenty of room for students to take copious notes, and note abbreviations.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find that they have included the periodic table of the elements and have incorporated an understanding of chemistry and how it relates to the field of nanotechnology.

All in all, this is a great book- and a wonderful model of how a good intro text should be- reviewing the past, providing plenty of examples and pictures for visual learners, yet incorporating the needed introductory knowledge that is relevant. I enjoyed reading the book, reviewing some high school and college subjects and getting a handle on this new field!

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