Giants of the Infinitesimal

Peter Forbes & Tom Grimsey

NanoScience: Giants of the Infinitesimal explores the amazing possibilities that nanotechnology offers us and the astonishing beauty of the nanoworld.

210 × 265 mm

192 pages


ISBN: 978-1906506-23-0


IPPY Gold Medal 2015 - Science

Subject: Science

The 21st century is at the beginning of an invisible revolution. As our scientific understanding of the natural world develops, we are learning to form new materials with astonishing properties, enabling us to gain a new level of control over light, electrical and chemical energy. Fascinatingly, most of this is happening at the nano-scale as atoms and molecules much smaller than the wavelengths of visible light become increasingly accessible to us. New tools and new approaches are needed. In NanoScience: Giants of the Infinitesimal, award-winning science writer Peter Forbes and sculptor Tom Grimsey explore the amazing possibilities that nanotechnology offers us, from clean harvesting solar energy and finding cost-effective methods to desalinate sea water, to the production of smart materials that alter their shape, texture or other properties when they come into contact with electric or magnetic fields. NanoScience shows the astonishing beauty of the nanoworld, the iridescence of butterfly wings or peacock feathers that is produced not by pigments but by structures invisible to the naked eye. Science looks out into deep space in wonder but our actual presence there will always be limited. We look into the heart of the atom but can only understand its structure by breaking it. Between the two ends of the spectrum is nanoscience, the fastest growing and most significant area of scientific exploration of our time.

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Peter Forbes & Tom Grimsey

Peter Forbes is a science writer with a special interest in the relationship between art and science. He has written numerous articles and reviews, many specialising in the relation between the arts and science, for the Guardian, Independent, The Times, Financial Times, Nature, Scientific American, New Scientist, and other magazines. The Gecko’s Foot, a book on the new science of bio-inspired materials, was published by Fourth Estate in 2005 and was long-listed for the Royal Society Prize. Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and camouflage (Yale University Press, 2009) won the 2011 Warwick Prize for Writing. He teaches the Narrative Non-fiction short course at City University, London, and is RLF Writing Fellow at Great Ormond Street Hospital. As a career sculptor, Tom Grimsey exhibited nationally and internationally for 30 years. He was part of a multidisciplinary team of leading nanoscientists working on a ‘Directed Reconfigurable Nanomachine’ with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). A follow-up grant in partnership with Theo Kaccoufa led to the touring show Giants of the Infinitesimal. As well as his research into new fluid languages for sculpture, Grimsey had a substantial practice working with architects and planners integrating larger art works into the fabric of new developments in urban regeneration. He was a Henry Moore Sculpture Fellow from 1990-92 and taught at Brighton University from 2003 (from 2008 as Head of Sculpture). Tom Grimsey died in October 2014, six months after the UK publication of Nanoscience: Giants of the Infinitesimal.

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"Lucid text and visuals combine to dazzling effect"

"Many have tried and failed to write engaging and compelling books about nanotechnology. Forbes and Grimsey succeed because they take the reader on a tour of the highlights, and in their company it is like visiting an exquisite grotto: compelling, mysterious and extremely beautiful. If you don’t come away from this book feeling intellectually exhilarated, then you need to stay in more."
Professor Mark Miodownik, author of Stuff Matters and regular contributor to BBC2’s Science Club

"This nanoworld can be astonishingly beautiful and NanoScience demonstrates this with more than 100 gorgeous images"
Physics World