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A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter (a comma on this webpage, by contrast, is roughly half a million nanometers), and nanotechnology is the exploration of things inconceivably small.

Nanotechnology has allowed scientists to engineer revolutionary new materials, such as plastics that conduct electricity and coatings that prevent iron from rusting. Its application can be seen in tissue engineering, energy uses, filtration, construction, agriculture, textiles, cosmetics, sports equipment, household goods and more.

Union College's interdisciplinary minor in nanotechnology is primarily aimed at science and engineering majors who wish to become more aware of the properties of matter at the nanoscale, the potential usefulness of those properties, and their social and economic implications.