They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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In The Land Of The Tiny, The Micron Is King

World's Smallest Trophy To Be Awarded In NanoBowl Video Contest

Gary White, Director, Society of Physics Students, sent out an e-mailing about the NanoBowl contest.

Science students at all levels are invited to explain physics through football

The American Physical Society is offering the smallest trophy ever made, and $1000 of (normal sized) cash, to the winner of the Physics Central NanoBowl Video Contest. To enter the NanoBowl video contest, make a video that uses football to illustrate some aspect of physics. Upload the video to YouTube with the tag "nanobowl." The deadline is January 15th. Representatives of the APS will choose a winner, and award the trophy and prize money on Super Bowl Sunday, February 3, 2008.

The possibilities are endless. You could talk about air pressure inside the ball, the rotation of a spiral, the impact of a tackle, acceleration in a breakaway touchdown run, or anything else you can imagine.

Physicist Harold Craighead and colleagues at Cornell University's Nanobiotechnology Center created the NanoTrophy that will go to the contest winner (or winners, in the event of a group entry). At 2.4 millionths of a meter across, with features measured in nanometers (billionths of meter), the NanoTrophy is fifty times smaller that the diameter of a typical human hair.

The trophy is much too small to be seen with the unaided eye, or even under an optical microscope. The details of the Nanotrophy can only be revealed under super high magnification scanning electron microscopes and other powerful imaging devices.

Because it's so small, the trophy is imbedded in a larger pattern that's visible under an ordinary microscope, which in turn is part of a 12 millimeter pattern visible to the naked eye. Don't worry, along with the trophy, we'll be providing a scanning electron microscope image of the trophy so that you'll be able to see what you won.

Physics Central NanoBowl Video Contest Rules:

* The contest is free and open to anyone with an interest in physics and football, but we strongly encourage physics students at all levels to enter.

* We recommend that the videos be two minutes or shorter. But if you feel you really need some extra time, go for it.

* All videos must be received by January 15, 2008.

* Submitted videos may be used by the American Physical Society in its activities, including posting videos on the Internet.

* Please submit your video via

* Tag your YouTube video with the term 'nanobowl' and send an email to with 'nanobowl' in the subject line to alert us to your video's existence.

For further details about the Physics Central NanoBowl and the nanotrophy, visit the Physics Central website (

You gotta love a contest where the coveted trophy is too small to be seen. (grin) Check it out. The actual "trophy" is about two microns across.

An Imaginary Conversation

Guy1: I can't see the trophy.

Guy2: It's there. It's just too small to be seen.

Guy1: Then how do I know it's there?

Guy2: Trust me.

Guy1: Wait, isn't that taking it on faith?

Guy2: No. Here's an electron-micrograph of the trophy. It's not faith, it's science!

Dr. Phil

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