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What's in an error bar anyways?
Thursday, July 26, 2012
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Nick Fahrenkopf
Albany, New York

In 1955 while addressing the National Academy of Sciences Richard Feynman stated "Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty." As usual, Feynman's statement was spot on, and holds true decades later. In his famous "Plenty of Room at the Bottom" lecture Feynman talked about what we now call nanotechnology, and all the different applications. Here I am, half a century later, working "at the bottom" and living in a world of uncertainty. I hope to share some of the exciting discoveries at the nanoscale and explain how they apply to my passion of biotechnology- as well as the everyday world. Learn more about Nicholas Fahrenkopf

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Recent Comments
Comment by Nick Fahrenkopf in What's in an error bar anyways?

lkasdjfsaid: The difference is not in the fields of study, but rather in the two different types of work . . .Read More
Nov 27, 2012, 9:34am
Comment by Nick Fahrenkopf in What's in an error bar anyways?

Brian Krueger, PhDsaid: Since you're working on semiconductor sequencing, what do you think of Oxford Na. . .Read More
Nov 27, 2012, 9:28am

Good one . . .Read More
Oct 15, 2012, 12:42am
Comment by lkasdjf in What's in an error bar anyways?

The difference is not in the fields of study, but rather in the two different types of work being done.  In the example, the EE is making an new device,  -- i.e. developing a new type of technolo. . .Read More
Sep 07, 2012, 11:38am
Awesome Stuff
Thanks to Flickr users kevindooley and DESQie for their art I integrated into the blog's header image.
Views: 5995 | Comments: 1
Last by firsat on Oct 03, 2011, 12:12am
In case you haven’t heard, memristors are a big deal (see NanoLetters, ACS Nano, and Nature). So what are they and why are researchers in academia and industry so interested? Are they going to change life as we know it?

Scientists, at least folks like me working at the intersection of biology and technology, are really interested in memristors because they are a fully electronic component that act (broadly speaking) like neurons. That is, they have the capacity to “remember” based on the current that flows through them. So, just like you might develop muscle memory from touching a hot pan (and hopefully learn to pull your hand away fast) memristors can learn. What caught my eye recently was this article that touted protein based memristors. That is, an electronic component that can mimic biological circuits, using biological molecules. Woah.

So let’s back up. What is a memristor? The typical spiel is that memristors are the fourth fundamental circuit element besides the resistor, capacito . . . More
Views: 2560 | Comments: 4
Last by Nick Fahrenkopf on Aug 02, 2011, 3:00pm
I’m a molecular biologist trapped in the body of someone with a physics degree. I’m a member of a bacteriology lab trapped in a college of “Nanoscale Science and Engineering”. As such, while I try to do cool nanoscale things with biological materials, I’m surrounded by physicists and electrical engineers along with their research projects and problems.

Don’t get me wrong, it is often very interesting and downright “cool stuff”. For now I’ll skip hot electrons and ballistic transport, or density functional theory calculations and focus on some buzz words you might have heard:

  • Carbon nanotubes (CNTs)
  • Graphene
  • Buckyballs
In a word, they’re called fullerenes. These materials are made of one thing: carbon. Just carbon, and nothing but carbon. Why are different formulations of carbon so exciting and worth spending millions if not billions of dollars on? As with just about anything in nanotechnology, matter behaves differently at the nanoscale. Graphite (in pencils) is pretty boring. Diamonds, while pretty (and apparently friendly to women) are pretty inert and solid. The carbon allotropes have little to do with their nanoscale cousins, although that’s not to say we can’t turn on into the other.



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