A child is about 1 meter tall
1 meter = 1,000,000,000 nm

Sugar Molecule

Sugar Molecule

A sugar molecule is about 1 nanometer wide

A sugar molecule is about 1 BILLION times smaller than a child, and when we get that small we're dealing with NANOTECHNOLOGY.

A Nanotechnology Outreach Experience

based on Nanotechnology Webquest by
Jeanne Nye1 and Andrew Greenberg, Ph.D.2

Choices materials and website design modified by Angela Jones, Ph.D.2

1Lake Mills Middle School and 2University of Wisconsin-Madison


Imagine ... a single area of scientific discovery with the potential to enable a wealth of innovative new technologies across all areas of our society. Nanotechnology, utilizing the manipulation of individual atoms, has this potential. Besides making existing products and processes better, nanotechnology has the potential to:

  • profoundly change our economy
  • improve our standard of living,
  • bring about the next industrial revolution.

Nanotechnology research and development (R&D) is aimed at understanding and creating improved materials, devices and systems that utilize nanoscale properties and functions. These innovations have potentially broad societal and ethical implications, some positive and some negative. The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was established to oversee these Federal R&D programs. One of NNI's responsibilities is to distribute available monies to qualifying agencies.


This outreach activity is designed to engage you in a debate on nanotechnology. Click on "Scenario" on the navigation bar at the top of the screen to read the scenario for this activity. Instructions will follow.

Gecko Foot Gecko Toe
Morpo Butterfly Morpho Microribs

Photo Credits

In banner design from left to right -
Nasturtium leaf nanocrystal bundles: A. Otten and S. Herminghaus, Göttingen, Germany
Pollen grains: Public domain
Money: Stock image
U.S. Capitol building: Public domain

In right panel from left to right and top to bottom -
Gecko foot: A.Dhinojwala, University of Akron
Gecko toe lamellae: C. Mathisen, FEI Company
Morpho butterfly: Wikimedia Commons
Morpho butterfly wing microribs: S.Yoshioka, Osaka University

For feedback, questions or accessibility issues, click here for email address.

Copyright © 2011 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System