Marina Maestrutti

Bringing visibility to the invisible. The role of vision and image in building a history of nanotechnology

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: nanotechnology, images, instruments, history, narrative

The aim of this contribution is to analyze the process of making images of an invisible world, the "nanoworld". Most of narratives about history of nanotechnology establish a connection between nanotechnology and instruments. The instruments which make the vision of atoms possible, especially the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), are considered as a necessary, if not sufficient, condition for the emerging of nanotechnology era. STM illustrates the importance of materials aspects in the development of nanotechnology and emphasizes a "phenomeno-technique" approach in the history of instruments and scientific discoveries. However, images have a fundamental role in narrative. Images give informations, but promotional aspects seem to prevail. Judging images as a main medium of materialization and transmission of imaginary of nanotechnology, we will focus on their evolution and function in nanotechnology narrative.

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