Dec. 10, 2009
|Even scientists can get into the spirit at Christmas, in their own ways.
|or maybe these petri-dish cookies that look very much like a bacterial streak plate|
|or for the molecular crowd, how about some lovely gel electrophoresis cookies!|
|David Cox, a scientist at the National Physical Laboratory in the UK, used his skills at nanofabrication techniques to construct the world's smallest snowman, measuring just 0.01 mm across (about one-fifth the width of a human hair) with the nose just 0.001 mm diameter. He created the snowman "by hand" using a system for manipulating nanoparticles ("nano" is 1,000 times smaller than "micro".) The snowman's head and body are made of tiny beads normally used to calibrate electron microscope lenses, welded together with platinum, with a tiny blob of platinum for the nose, and the eyes and smile carved using a focused ion beam.
To give you some idea of the size of this tiny snowman, the average snowflake is around 10 mm, i.e., 1,000 of these snowmen could be lined up across one snowflake.
This video from NPL gives you a good idea of the actual size of the snowman.