Computer Science Illuminated, Third Edition


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"Nano" signifies small. Very small. By definition, a nano is 10^-9, so a nanometer is equivalent to one billionth of a meter. To help you fathom the immensely small quality of a nanometer, consider how within on tiny millimeter there are one million nanometers. Indeed, one strand of hair is 100,000 nanometers thick! It makes sense then that nanoscience refers to an area of science dedicated to the study of materials with small dimensions.

The naked eye cannot perceive such smallness, but with the help of technology nanoscience is a true and developing field of research. For example, nanoscience is studied by an IBM research group which uses scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) as tools to look at materials on the nanometer scale.

Nanoscience is an interesting field for many different reasons. First, solids have different properties when examined at such close proximity. Structurally, the atoms that form the edges of solids are often unstable, and in nanoscience it is these small areas and edges that are studied. Up close, solids appear with different physical properties too, like color. How the properties change with size is also of interest in nanoscience. Scientists are learning more about atomic structure and molecular patterns through nanotechnology, and by designing and manipulating material at the nanometer scale, have the capacity to make profound discoveries. By learning about the fundamental properties of the world around us through the study of the tiniest parts of our environment, we gain valuable insight into the materials we use everyday.

Additional Links
What specific research topics are explored in the field of Nanoscience? Check out IBM’s research site to find out.

Visit the Nano web site

De Morgan's Law

Who is the man behind De Morgan's Law? Read on and learn!

The influential mathematician Augusta De Morgan was born in 1806 in Manure, India, where his father, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Indian army, was temporarily stationed. De Morgan's first year of life was quite eventful: first he lost the ability to see from his right eye, and then he was uprooted from India to travel with his family back to England.

De Morgan's early education led him to matriculate at Trinity College in 1823, where he earned his BA and would have received his MA, had he not morally objected to the theological exam required for the degree. He returned to London in 1826 and resisted his parents' wishes for him to enter the priesthood. He briefly considered medicine and law, but soon chose a different path, and in 1828 became the first mathematics professor at the University College of London. He resigned in 1831 on principle, was reinstated in 1836, and resigned again in 1861. His interests ranged from logic and mathematics to philosophy and astronomy, and his scholarly enthusiasm is evident from the vast number of articles, books, and other publications that he authored throughout his life time.

His greatest accomplishments include mathematical induction, and his development of De Morgan's rule, which determines the convergence of a mathematical series. An abstract thinker, De Morgan made headway in the definition of a limit, and contributed greatly to the field of logic. He also founded the London Mathematical Society, and wrote much on the history of mathematics. De Morgan died in 1871, having made a rich contribution to mathematics.

Additional Links
For another detailed look at DeMorgan, visit this site dedicated to his life and his contributions to computer science.

Visit the DeMorgan web site
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