Posts Tagged ‘NPL’


Fourth NanoShow on 12 February

February 6, 2008

The fourth NanoShow will be on Tuesday, February 12, at 1700 GMT, 9am Second Life time (Pacific Time). Dr. JT Janssen will give a talk titled “Nano-Science and the Quantum World.” To find out how to attend, and to read the full abstract of the talk, visit the NanoShow webpage.

Photo taken at the third NanoShow on 29 January


Third NanoShow on 29 January

January 23, 2008

The third NanoShow will be on Tuesday, January 29, at 1700 GMT, 9am Second Life time (Pacific Time). Prof. Leslie Pendrill will give a talk titled “Supporting Growth in Nanoproduction.” To find out how to attend, and to read the full abstract of the January 29 talk, visit the NanoShow webpage.

Photo taken at the second NanoShow on 15 January


Newton’s Apple Tree

January 20, 2008

I’m going to write some posts highlighting various exhibits and other features on the Nanotechnology sim in Second Life (also called Nanotechnology Island or just Nanoisland).

Today I’ll begin with Newton’s apple tree. If you’re not familiar with the story, it goes something like this… Isaac Netwon, the great English scientist, was struck on the head by a falling apple, and this caused him to contemplate the nature of gravity, leading him to formulate his universal law of gravitation. The story is almost certainly a myth, but if you want to read more, check out the article in Wikipedia.

The current whereabouts of the original apple tree are disputed (see above article), but the tree in the courtyard of the National Physical Lab in Teddington (in the UK) is said to be a descendant. Here’s a photo of the tree in Teddington:

A replica of NPL’s tree can be found in the courtyard of the main building of Nanotechnology sim in Second Life.

If you click on the tree in Second Life, it releases a large number of big red juicy apples!


Second NanoShow is on Tuesday, January 15

January 8, 2008

The first NanoShow was a great success, with about 50 people attending in Teddington and another 50 or so attending in Second Life.  We’ll be posting an (edited) recording of the first NanoShow soon.  (We’ve been away on holidays.)

The second NanoShow will be on Tuesday, January 15, at 1700 GMT, 9am Second Life time (Pacific Time).  Dr. Richard Leach will give a talk titled “Metrology: A Tool to Enable Micro- to Nanotechonology.”  To find out how to attend, and to read the full abstract of the January 15 talk, visit the NanoShow webpage.

Screenshot from the first NanoShow on 18 December.


Coming Soon: The NanoShow

November 28, 2007

On Tuesday, 11 December, 18 December (rescheduled), Kamal Hossain, NPL’s Director of Research, will give the first in a series of seminars in Second Life that we’re calling The NanoShow. The title of his talk will be, “Nanotechnologies: Opportunities and Threats” This interactive event will be a first for NPL. To find out more and how to be involved, click here.


A quick piece of knowledge transfer

October 5, 2007

This article is a re-post of an article from my knowledgecast blog. I think its a good example of how to communicate science using Second Life. And the science is really cool too.

Original date of posting: October 2006
I recently told Vlad Sokhan, a Strategic Research Fellow in molecular modelling at NPL about Amazon’s amazing new hardware-on-demand service, called Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), that I’d heard about from Jeff Barr’s speech at a recent conference in Brighton (I listened to the podcast as the conference was full!). Vlad needs computing power for his molecular modelling work and currently uses the NPL grid.

He showed me a short movie segment that had taken over 30 hours of PC time to render. The movie showed methane molecules flowing through a carbon nanotube and had led Vlad to discover a kind of super-flow, which was 100 times faster than expected.

In view of these and other amazing properties carbon nanotubes are expected to underpin future developments such as new energy sources and miniature chemical factories that could help remove greenhouse gases from power station emissions.

Within the space of an evening Troy McLuhan and I had finished an exhibit of a 3D carbon nanotube and the movie with an explanatory information card. It took rather longer to decide where to place it at the new Science Center on Info Island. Here’s a picture of the final exhibit which was there for the Science Center opening meeting on October 12th 2006.

Carbon Nanotubes, Methane Flow and Global Warming

Watch the movie here: Hi-res / Lo-res

Here comes the science: Carbon nanotubes continue to amaze scientists with their unique and unusual properties. How does the super-flow work you ask. Well, traditional models of fluid flow do not work well with nanotubes since they either use a fixed volume of fluid containing a changing population of particles or a continuous flow that is slower near the edges. Vlad’s approach accurately models the molecules behaviour as they encounter the inside surface of the nanotube. For a variety of reasons they actually speed up and travel further and faster along the tube walls than previously thought, and spend longer close to the walls instead of bouncing back into the main flow.

Further reading: There is a readable description of the possible use of nanotubes as highly efficient membranes for separating carbon dioxide from power plant flue gases in this article:
Science 19 May 2006: Vol. 312. no. 5776, pp. 1003 – 1004
Making High-Flux Membranes with Carbon Nanotubes
David S. Sholl and J. Karl Johnson

For the more technical readers, here is Vlad Sokhan’s original work:
Journal of Chemical Physics Volume 117, Number 18 8 November 2002
Fluid flow in nanopores: Accurate boundary conditions for carbon nanotubes
Vladimir P. Sokhan, David Nicholson, and Nicholas Quirkea

And a recent Nature paper where this finding was experimentally verified:
Nature 438, 44 (3 November 2005)
Nanoscale hydrodynamics: Enhanced flow in carbon nanotubes
Mainak Majumder, Nitin Chopra, Rodney Andrews and Bruce J. Hinds

Endnote by Troy: Since the above blog posting first appeared, the Science Center moved from ‘Info Island II’ to ‘Infotainment Island’. The exhibit showing the flow of methane through a nanotube was taken down (as were all exhibits) and was rebuilt on the SciLands sim (just north of the Nanotechnology sim).  You can visit it by clicking here.