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Thursday, January 28, 2010

That's really interesting: How someone playing around found a major nanotechnology discovery

Fascinating Outlier-ish article "Dry Printing of Nanotube patterns to any surface could revolutionize microelectronics."

Don't let the name fool you. IN this article we see an overview of the paper of a graduate student at Rice University, Cary Pint, who has been given time and access to "play" in a nanotechnology lab.  The end of the article says:

"Pint said an afternoon of "experimenting with creative ideas" as a first-year graduate student turned into a project that held his interest through his time at Rice. "I realized early on it may be useful to transfer carbon nanotubes to other surfaces," he said.

"I started playing around with water vapor to clean up the amorphous carbons on the nanotubes. When I pulled out a sample, I noticed the nanotubes actually stuck to the tweezers.

"I thought to myself, 'That's really interesting ...'""

Yes, that is really interesting. Sometimes I think we are all so all-fired serious all the time that we don't take time to play. What started off as seeming play in virtual worlds has turned into a very serious and increasingly useful tool for teaching my students immersively on ReactionGrid.

All testing and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy, it makes him quit school and perhaps derive the world of the innovations that happen when we take time to play!

Whatever the outcome of the defense of this paper, I find the whole observation of this process very interesting.

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