Great and small

Peter Forbes and Tom Grimsey

Papadakis

2014 | 192pp | £24.99

ISBN 9781906506230

Reviewed by Andrei Khlobystov

Scientists influenced by William Morris have said that an area of science is worth studying only if it is useful or beautiful. This book compellingly demonstrates that nanoscience is both. 

An almost fantastical array of the latest research highlights from leading laboratories around the world is cleverly intertwined with some historical facts and general scientific concepts, all embellished with art and poetry. The fact that nanoscience originates from several traditional disciplines – including chemistry, physics and biology – is fully reflected in the content and structure of this book, making its scope incredibly wide and truly cross-disciplinary.

Any practising scientist or engineer, or a student of those subjects, should find this book inspiring because it brings together the latest achievements in the field, creating a real sense of the direction this research is taking. Furthermore, the authors often make interesting and sometimes surprising links between seemingly unconnected topics (for example, soap bubbles, zeolites and living cells) that may help to stimulate the readers to think outside the box in their own research. 

Descriptions of different nanomaterials and explanations of their functional properties and applications are clear but extremely brief, so footnotes with some references to the original publications reporting these examples would have been appreciated by the research community. 

The book will be equally attractive to non-expert readers who may have only vague interest in nanoscience and nanotechnology. Their initial curiosity will definitely be fuelled by the exciting academic research and the real-life practical applications of nanostructures ranging from construction materials to electronic devices and medicines. While the book does not teach the basic concepts of nanoscience explicitly, it definitely has a significant educational value for a new generation of scientists and engineers.

Overall, the book is a visual and intellectual feast for academic and non-expert readers alike. 

Purchase Nanoscience: giants of the infinitesimal from Amazon.co.uk