Nanotechnology is concerned with science at the scale 1-100 nanometres – larger than atoms or molecules – but still very small objects. Things this small can have unusual properties, and the implications for using nanotechnology in everyday life are wide-ranging, from medicine, to computing, to sunscreens.

Students can do this activity as homework or in the classroom if they have access to the internet.

The Nikon universe website can give you an idea of the relative sizes of different parts of our universe from the very large to very small. However please be aware that this website is best used to get a visual idea of the concept of scale which it does very nicely and not as a source of accurate scientific information.

A completed table can be found here.

This activity may also be useful for other topics such as astronomy or molecular biology.

 

Curriculum links

All Sciences

3. Specification content
• Appreciate the tentative nature of scientific knowledge.
• Communicate information and ideas in appropriate ways using appropriate terminology.
• Consider applications and implications of science and appreciate their associated benefits and risks.
• Appreciate the ways in which society uses science to inform decision making.

Physics

3.1 Knowledge of SI units


The scale of the universe

ferrofluid_300Nanomaterials are usually measured in nanometers (nm). 1 nm can also be written as 1 x 10-9 m which is one billionth of a metre. But how does this compare to the rest of the universe? This quiz will help to give you an idea of scale and orders of magnitude and the units used to measure very small things.

Image: Ferrofluid, as seen in the picture on the right, is composed of nanoparticles that have magnetic properties. A magnet placed beneath a glass plate on which the fluid lies causes the fluid to form spikes.

The Nikon universe website can give you an idea of the relative sizes of different parts of our universe from the very large to very small, and here's another illustrated scale of the universe. You might also find the 'orders of magnitude and standard units' table helpful.

 

 

Can you decode the scale of the universe?

Take the quiz online here,

Or download the pdf worksheet.