Special Relativity and Modern Physics
No one can argue that technological progress has benefitted our society, nor laude the scientists and engineers who made these advances possible as anything but heroes. Still every technological revolution has brought costs as well as benefits. As responsible scientists and engineers it is our responsibility to be aware of this aspect of technological progress, both to prevent the future from taking us by surprise and to be in a position to assure that debates on these issues are not dominated by the uninformed.As a society we are now faced with several such revolutions, such as efficient fusion energy, designer genetic engineering, and nano-technology. It is this later that we are going to examine in this discussion question.Nano-technology is an engineering discipline that seeks to create mechanical devices on the scale of atoms. Engineered materials at this scale will be capable of fundamentally different kinds of functionality than macroscopic tools. After all, your mechanic does not need to think about the diffraction of his or her wrench as is passes through a small access port in the engine. These quantum mechanical effects will be used by future engineers in ways that have not occurred to us, as well as interact with our bodies and the environment in a similarly unforeseen manner.******** To complete this discussion activity:Do your own internet research, and then write an initial response to the following three discussion prompts. Post your response to the discussion board.Using the de Brolie wavelength of a wrench and a hydrogen atom, show that interference and diffraction effects in matter waves may be neglected at the scale of a macroscopic systems, but that this is not true at the nano – scale.Given the possible improvements in cost of materials, speed and energy efficiency, what are some of the possible benefits and implcations for societyy from nano – technology?Discuss the possible hazards to the environment, human health, and to society from nano – scaled materials and devices.