Surfaces, Technology and Life

Seminar Leader:
Jorge Santiago-Aviles


As one reduces the dimensions of particles the amount of surface area increases rapidly – as does the ratio of surface to volume. These surfaces and interfaces in many ways control most chemical reactions that have any technological importance, the performance limits of electronics, and even the phenomena we call life. In this seminar, we examined the importance of nano-scale structures in biology and technology and ways in which these relationships can be utilized towards much diverse advancements in the future.

The six units developed through this summer cover contemporary science-related topics introducing students to the world of surfaces – those we can see and those invisible to the naked eye. One high school teacher even adopted our materials for his high school math class, exploring the importance of the surface area to volume ratio. Other Fellows, teaching science to students of all levels, explored modern and stimulating topics from prosthetics to nanotechnology to biological membranes. These units will engage students in an effort to understand how such a simple and ubiquitous thing as a surface can be such a major player in the micro and the macro.

Unit TitleAuthor


Macro to the Micro

David H. Adams
Keywords: macro, micro, Nanotechnology, Science, Technology

Bone, Muscle and Prosthetic Unit for Surfaces and Nanotechnology

Nancy Baulis
Keywords: bones, muscles, Nanotechnology, prosthetics

It’s a Small World After All

Jennifer Boyd-Waller
Keywords: atoms, high school science, Nanotechnology, physics, Science, science lab

The Structure and Function of Biological Membranes

Stuart Surrey
Keywords: Biology, covalent bonds, intermolecular forces, ionic bonds, kinetics

The Importance of Surface to Volume Ratio (SVR) in Everyday Life.

Krishan L. Wadhwa
Keywords: geometry, physics

A Multifaceted Unit on Cells, Scale, and Nanotechnology

Rosalind Williams
Keywords: Biology, cell, Nanotechnology, scale