Why is it every time I hear or read about nanotechnology my mind drifts back to a TV show I barely watched? It’s 1979, I’m desperate to graduate from high school. On television, Robin Williams is trying to breathe life into one of the most dreadful shows ever made. Actress Pam Dawber stares blankly (I’m sure no reflection on what’s going on inside her pretty little head.) into Williams’ eyes (i.e. camera number two) and he says: “Na-nu, na-nu.”
Thank God for nanotechnology if only for the possibility that it will replace the memory of that vapid show (“Mork and Mindy” for anyone born after 1970) in my brain.
OK, not the only reason to be thankful for nanotechnology. Without it I’d have nothing to occupy me while I sit in the doctor’s office waiting (my iPhone) and there would be little chance of living forever (I’m depending on nanobioscience to save me from my mortal self).
For that was the conclusion my friend Claire and I made as we exited a lecture recently on the campus of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) in Albany, NY. Yes, with a little help from the entrepreneurial scientists on that campus and Alain Kaloyeros — the pioneer of the education research taking place on that campus and reaching out into the world — scientists and engineers are learning to control and manipulate atoms and molecules for the benefit of the environment, health and safety.
Even entertainment, which leads us back to the beginning. Because without “Mork and Mindy” Williams might still be practicing pantomime on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (probably not). It was after all the vehicle that drove him onto the world stage.
And that is no small — nano-sized — feat.
For information on Sheila Carmody, go to http://www.sheilacarmody.com.