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Thursday, December 27, 2007

BIG BOOM in a Tiny Technology*

I remember many years ago being thrilled by the movie Fantastic Voyage, (yes, I know it dates me) all the while believing that it was science fiction. Little did I know then, that by the time I would be an adult it would actualize and become science fact. . .
Appropos this, you might remember that some time back I posted on this blog about the myriad things Israel has done and still is doing over its short history as a modern state to benefit humanity (many of which go unrecognized by the rest of the world).

Well, here's one that is being recognized (albeit quietly, for now): Fantastic Voyage has become Fantastic Fact: Israel is involved in break-through research and cutting-edge applications in the area of Nanotechnology, an applied science based on controlling matter on the atomic and molecular level.

Nanotechnology-"nano" deriving from the Greek nanos or nannos meaning "little old man" refers to a measure of one billionth, e.g., a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. The term was coined in 1974 by Norio Taniguchi, a University of Tokyo Science professor, around the same time as Buckyballs were discovered at American Rice University (for a cool revolving image, either click on the image or go here.)


This technology involves the manipulation of tiny units of matter, and traverses many different fields and disciplines such as physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, and others. It can have varied applications - such as in medicine, for example: an Israeli company has developed a nano-camera ("PillCam") which is swallowed like a capsule and is used to photograph the esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. This allows physicians to visualize the patient's insides non-invasively. Can you imagine what kind of breakthroughs in diagnostic and preventive medicine this could contribute to?

From the Spiegel Online (read the whole article):

The Israeli government plans to invest $230 million in nanotechnology research and development over the next five years, which would make nanoscience one of Israel’s most heavily invested R&D fields.

And where else, but in weapons technology as well? How do "small flying robots" (the "bionic hornet") sound to you? It's a further development of the pilotless "drones" which the United States has also used in it's "war against terrorism." And lest anyone accuse Israel of being 'war-mongering,' just remember that it is a country surrounded by enemies who have stated outright and actually tried many times in the past to destroy her, as well as currently still shelling her cities and ambushing her civilian population. Necessity is the mother of invention - literally - and thank G-d, Israel has the manpower (and G-d's help) with the education and intelligence to be up to the task (funny; leave it to a Jew to develop an intelligent wasp!) And in addition:

While Israel may be the first to publicly acknowledge its military nanotech agenda, let's not forget that in the US 1 out of every 3 federal nanotech research dollars goes to military applications, as Michael Berger at Nanowerk points out.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, as it were: the piece de resistance? Welcome to the world's tiniest Bible:
Israeli scientists stated recently that they have created the world's tiniest Bible on a gold-coated silicon chip. They took the over 300,000 word Hebrew Bible and stuffed it onto a 0.5 millimeter square; read about it here. What can I say? There just are no words. . . (!)
And now they want to photograph it and blow it up to a seven-by-seven meter poster, so that we all can read the entire Torah with the naked eye.
Of course. Jewish ingenuity (why didn't I think of that?)

But really, it's amazing, how such a tiny country is making HUGE strides in a tiny technology!

[*other sources for this post include:
http://www.ishitech.co.il/0202ar3.htm
http://www.smh.com.au/news/Technology/Israel-developing-bionic-arsenal/2006/11/18/1163266789754.html
http://www.theithacajournal.com/news/stories/20041008/duffieldhall/1380292.html
http://www.foresight.org/nanodot/?p=2366 ]



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2 comments:

Norma said...

It is hard to imagine the world of science, technology, arts, literature, etc. without the Jews.

Happy New Year--you've been tagged.
http://collectingmythoughts.blogspot.com/2007/12/4476-ive-been-tagged-7-weirdrandom.html If you've already done this one--do it again!

Lady-Light said...

Norma: We have always been 'the people of the book;' I guess we can expand that in this digital age to 'the people of the silicon chip' (and beyond).
Ooh, I've been tagged! I love memes and blogger games!

 
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