Nanotechnology is the science of manipulating things atom-by-atom to produce the smallest human-made objects. It is among the hottest new research fields in the world, and the Bay Area is a center for its study. Within 15 years, experts predict, it will drive progress in virtually every field, from computing to medicine, manufacturing, energy and the environment. Simply put, a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. How small is that? A human hair is 80,000 nanometers thick. Scientists at UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, private start-up companies in Silicon Valley, and other institutions are working on astounding projects only a few nanometers in size. Among them: finding cancer tumors without scalpels, designing clothes that won’t stain, building super-efficient solar panels as thick as a sheet of paper, and detecting airborne anthrax or other biological or chemical substances that terrorists may inject into subways, office buildings or Congress. Is it safe to be fiddling around with things so small we can barely measure them? And just as the internet drove our economy in the past 20 years, will the super-small be the Bay Area’s next big thing?
Josh Rosen was the TV Series Producer for QUEST from 2007-2009. He is a senior writer and producer specializing in documentary series and factual programming. Over the last decade he's produced a wide range of non-fiction hours, covering everything from Antarctic expeditions to Civil War history. With a background in feature film, Josh spent four years working with legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog on multiple documentaries, including the Emmy-nominated "Little Dieter Needs to Fly," "Wings of Hope," and "Klaus Kinski: My Best Fiend." His more recent projects are currently airing on the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the History Channel, and worldwide through Granada Media and RDF Television.