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Nanotechnology: A Gentle Introduction to the Next Big Idea Paperback – November 18, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0131014008 ISBN-10: 0131014005 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (November 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131014005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131014008
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Nanotech for everyone! The friendly, non-technical guide to the next industrial revolution.

  • Discover the world's next $1 trillion industry!
  • The easy-to-understand guide to nanoscale technology, science, business, and ethics
  • Today's hottest nanotech research and tomorrow's hottest applications
  • Nanobots, quantum and DNA computing, nanosensors, neuro-electronic interfaces, and much more
  • Insider's assessment of the nanotechnology marketplace and investment opportunities

By 2015, nanotechnology could be a $1 trillion industry. Now, renowned nanotech pioneer Mark Ratner and technology entrepreneur Daniel Ratner show you how nanotech works, why it's so exciting, what's new, and what's next. They survey the entire field—technology and business—covering nanobots, molecular electronics, quantum computing, biostructures, nanotubes, molecular motors, nanosensors, and many other breakthrough applications. They provide easy-to-understand explanations of every key concept, plus dozens of visuals that bring nanotechnology to life. Coverage includes:

  • A simple, brief, almost math-free introduction to nanotech science
  • "Grand tour" of nanotech R&D, from "smart materials" to DNA computing
  • Breakthrough biomedical applications, including neuro-electronic interfaces and new drug delivery systems
  • Current and emerging nanotech systems for optoelectronics and communications
  • Nanotech here and now: nano-enhanced tennis balls, suntan lotions, and other products already in the market
  • A realistic assessment of nanotech investment opportunities for the short- and long-term
  • Ethical issues associated with nanotech research and product development

About the Author

MARK RATNER, winner of the 2001 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, is Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor in Chemistry at Northwestern University. He is widely credited as the "father of molecular-scale electronics"—thanks to his groundbreaking work with Ari Aviram that first envisioned how electronic circuit elements might be constructed from single molecules and how these circuits might behave. Ratner is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He lectures worldwide on nanotechnology and its implications.

DANIEL RATNER, an engineer and tech entreprenteur, has founded two successful technology startup companies, serves as industry advisor to several other high-tech ventures, and was recently awarded the prestigious "30 Under 30" entrepreneurs' award by Philly Tech magazine.


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Customer Reviews

Phenomenal book - very well written and easy to understand.
Jeremy Williams
Even with some examples already outdated though, I would highly recommend the book to anyone wishing to get a good understanding of nanotechnology.
James M. Santos
I can see how some people who are well versed in science might find this book too basic.
Sara Smyth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sara Smyth on September 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
I thought this book was an excellent introduction to the field of nanotechnology for the non-scientist. I highly recommend this book to those interested in cutting-edge scientific ideas as well as those with a particular interest in nanotechnology.
I am a lawyer and graduate law student interested in the field of nanoscience from a legal/regulatory perspective. I have not taken a science course since early high school and I wanted a book which would give me a "gentle introduction to/overview of" the field so that I could grasp the science/technical basics. I found this book perfect for that purpose. It simplifies complex ideas without being simplistic. It starts with the very basics and explains simple concepts - like what is an atom, what is a molecule - without dumbing-down the information. It then progresses to the more complex, offering a terrific overview of nanoscience from the broadest possible perspective. It covers virtually every area - from optics, to electronics, to biotechnology, to ethics and investment issues. It even contains a helpful glossary of important terms.
I thought that it was a wonderful book, intelligently written, brief and to the point. I can see how some people who are well versed in science might find this book too basic. However, as the authors point out in the introduction to this book, it was designed to introduce the scientific basics of nanotechnology to non-scientist professionals. It succeeds in doing just that. I know I will refer to it time and again during my research and I will recommend it to everyone with an interest in this fascinating field.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Cliff Bauer on August 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like it, I didn't much care for the Ratner's Introduction to Nano. The two dish out a lot of hype (Imagine that... imagine that... Nanotechnology may do all of these things!) and not as much information as one would expect, even from a book mean to ease you into a topic.
I found the writing totally average. Misconceived jokes and mechanical prose made reading the book most unpleasurable, and chapters are so divided that the book has very little continuity.
Look somewhere else for a book on nano.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am a general user of computer systems, and not schooled in nanoscience at all. What a relief to see that there's a book out there that can explain this emerging field to me! Not only is the book easy to read, it's fascinating, with a review of in-depth nan inventions, business aspects, and a general review of chemistry which is great because I had forgotten how it all fits together.
I would recommend this book to the average user that wants to know about this science-it is really easy to read and it makes the entire science clear-I was not aware of the science before this except for general rumors of nanobots. It is a refreshing look at a science that has, until now, been under-reported.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Walter G. Paine on September 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
The book is what it says it is: A Gentle Introduction. If you want to know what Nanotechnology is before, for example, taking a course on it, this book will do the job.

The authors state (on page 4) that they "hope this book will be a quick airplane or poolside read...". It will take somewhat more effort than that to grasp and retain what is written but it is still well within the compass of the "intelligent layman".

From a stylistic point of view I found the book a little tedious hence four stars out of five.

I also read "Understanding Nanotechnology" which covers much the same ground and which I prefered mainly on stylistic grounds.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Torsten Fiebig on September 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
The book is EXCELLENT! The authors managed to give a broad account of nanotechnology that is both comprehensible for non-experts and exciting and informative for the experts.

A fantastic mix that outlines the scientific, engineering, and economic impacts of nanotechnology. Should be mandatory reading material for all science undergraduates!!!!

Prof. Torsten Fiebig, Boston
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "l-dudley" on January 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book provided an easily comprehensible overview of many aspects of nanoscience. Concepts were presented without too much overwhelming scientific language. All in all, a good book for someone who wants an introduction to the world of nanoscience, applications of nanotechnology, and how the future will be affected by new discoveries in this field.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a great overview for the non-scientist. I found it to be an easy and quick read overall. This was the first book that I read on Nanotechnology and I understood about 80% of what was being said, after reading 3 more books on the topic and coming back to this one - I understood about 95% of what was being said. I have given this book to several friends that are interested in learning more about nanotechnology and they all find it to be and helpful.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By anonymous on February 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
As a graduate student, I can appreciate this book for what it is - a very general overview for those without a technical background. Ratner sets the stage very well, describing why the nanoscale is a "different kind of small," and what implications this has in several fields - medical, electronics, energy, consumer products, etc. Since we are talking mainly about the ability to very precisely design material properties, and every manufacturing-based industry is based on the use of some material, it is not too much of a leap to see that working at the nanoscale will be a huge source of competitive advantage in the coming years.

The only portion of the book I found lacking was the investment/business section. Most non-technical readers of this book probably have a rudimentary understanding of business, if not an expertise in business, and this part of the book was a little too basic.

One interesting point not mentioned in the book (And I wouldn't expect it to have been mentioned) - within the technical community, many folks shy away from using the word "nanotech," largely because it is typically viewed as the next logical step in established fields. "Mechanical Engineering at a smaller scale," "More precise Materials Engineering," "Business as usual for the chemists," etc. etc. It is a far more common word among lawyers, politicians, and business people, those who are looking at technology trends from a very high level. Still, I would have to say that Ratner gets it right - it is beneficial for the scientific and engineering communities to think about this as a new field, one in which knowledge of engineering, chemistry, and biology are all essential. Simply thinking in terms of this paradigm will encourage folks who may never have spoken before (i.e. - a mechanical engineer and a chemist) to realize that there is room for innovative collaborations. In addition to new designer materials, this may be the biggest result of the "nanotech" revolution.
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