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June 9, 2008
An Impressive Nanolist of Nanocitations
Time for just a brief piece this morning, about a topic I've mentioned before which is getting more noticeable all the time. If you follow the papers coming out in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (known as "Jay-ay-cee-ess" or just plain "Jacks" to the working chemist), you've been seeing an awful lot of nano-scale work. Nanorods, nanoprisms, nanoarrays of nanocrystals. The percentage of these things has, to my eye, just been rising steadily. Try the ASAP section and see what you think.
And what's interesting about these papers, completely apart from their subject matter, is that they're surely headed for obscurity in almost every case. That's not because nanoscience is going nowhere (quite the contrary, I think). It's because things are in such an early stage still. There are so many small steps to be made, many of which will turn out to have been in the wrong direction. Even the work that leads to something will be cited for its historical interest (". . .the first report of nanoscale battleaxes, now a crucial part of the world economy, came as early as 2008. . .").
This is the era when this work can be published. Much earlier and we wouldn't have been able to characterize these structures, and much later it'll seem trivial. (I know, some of it seems trivial on arrival - there are still a lot of chemists who roll their eyes and groan when they see this stuff). And boy, are people taking advantage of this window of opportunity. It has to be a good thing, in general, that there's so much work going on in so many different directions. I'm just glad that I don't have to figure out which of these seeds are going to bloom. . .
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