Field of Science

From the small to the large

Nanoscience deals with the very small - hence the name from the Greek for "dwarf". Dimensions are often given in Angstroms. Interestingly, the man who gives his name to the very small, in fact studied the very large. Anders Angstrom (1817-1874) was a Swedish spectroscopist. In 1853 he published a careful study of the spectral lines for hydrogen, which was subsequently used by Balmer to develop his equation predicting atomic spectra. In 1867 he published a spectroscopic investigation of the aurora borealis (the first such), and a year later a large volume detailing more than 1000 solar spectral lines. Angstrom was the frist to observe hydrogen in the solar atmosphere. 1 angstrom = 0.1 nanometers.

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