How do you describe nanotechnology in 24 seconds, or even in 7 words?  Tough challenge, but Professor Wade Adams, Director of the Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science & Technology at Rice University rose to it with aplomb at this year’s Ig Nobel awards.

Here’s the transcript of the achievement, from last week’s Science Friday:

Mr. ABRAHAMS: The first 24/7 lecture will be delivered by Wade Adams, director of the Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science & Technology at Rice University. His topic: nanotechnology. First, a complete technical description in 24 seconds. On your mark, get set, go.

Dr. WADE ADAMS (Director, Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science & Technology, Rice University): $2.7 trillion industry by 2015 solutions to the top 10 problems facing humanity in the next 50 years: gold nanoshells, cancer therapy, buckyballs, MRI contrast enhancers, graphene ribbons, oil recovery, carbon nanotubes, ballistic conducting grid wire, nanoelectronics, smaller, faster, cheaper, nanophotonics sensors, nanomembranes, water filtration, ultra-lightweight, strong nanocomposites, the energy-efficient SUVs. Rick Smalley’s challenge…

(Soundbite of whistle)

Dr. ADAMS: …be a scientist, save the world.

Mr. ABRAHAMS: And now, a clear summary that anyone can understand in seven words. On your mark, get set, go.

Dr. ADAMS: Nanotechnology: Making small stuff do big things.

Pretty impressive!

Thanks to Kristen Kulinowski for the twitter heads-up on this landmark achievement.  Never again will I have an excuse for not answering the dreaded  “so what is nanotechnology?” question in a single breath 🙂

Andrew Maynard