The Nanoneme Syndrome: Blurring of fact and fiction in the construction of a new science | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1477-965X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9533


In both the philosophical and visual sense, ‘seeing is believing’ does not apply to nanotechnology, for there is nothing even remotely visible to create proof of existence. On the atomic and molecular scale, data is recorded by sensing and probing in a very abstract manner, which requires complex and approximate interpretations. More than in any other science, visualization and creation of a narrative becomes necessary to describe what is sensed, not seen. Nevertheless, many of the images generated in science and popular culture are not related to data at all, but come from visualizations and animations frequently inspired or created directly from science fiction. Likewise, much of this imagery is based on industrial models and is very mechanistic in nature, even though nanotechnology research is at a scale where cogs, gears, cables, levers and assembly lines as functional components appear to be highly unlikely. However, images of mechanistic nanobots proliferate in venture capital circles, popular culture, and even in the scientific arena, and tend to dominate discourse around the possibilities of nanotechnology. The authors put forward that this new science is ultimately about a shift in our perception of reality from a purely visual culture to one based on sensing and connectivity.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...
  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): nanobots; nanometre; Nanotechnology
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error