APS News

November 2007 (Volume 16, Number 10)

Physics Fans Get Chance to Win World's Smallest Trophy

A nanoscale football field and helmet, created in silicon and metal by physicists of the Craighead research group at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, will be awarded as a prize in APS’s football video contest.

The contest is an APS public outreach effort to get football fans interested in physics. Participants in the contest will create short YouTube videos demonstrating some aspect of physics in football. The winner will receive the trophy and $1000.

In the nanoscale trophy, the width of the yard lines will be about a thousand times thinner than a strand of human hair. This design will be embedded in a more detailed microscale design, visible using an ordinary optical microscope. Even this version is embedded in an identical design on the scale of millimeters, so it will be visible to the naked eye. The tiny plaque will be mounted on a stand, and the winner will receive micrographs that show the design through an electron microscope as well.

Craighead’s lab, also responsible for the world’s smallest guitar in 1997, is known for their nanoscale fabrication. To create the trophy, they will use atom and photo lithography, engraving the tiny pattern by exposing the material to beams of atoms or light, respectively. For the larger image, they will use ordinary etching methods.

To win the trophy and cash, contestants must submit a video around two minutes in length that demonstrates some aspect of physics in football. Contestants can break down the forces in some footage of their favorite high school, college, or NFL team. Or they can get together with friends or family to film an experiment relevant to the game and its equipment. Videos could talk about air pressure inside the ball, the rotation of a spiral, the impact of tackle, or acceleration in a breakaway touchdown run. Other creative approaches are welcome.

To submit a video, contestants should upload it to YouTube with the tag “nanobowl” and send an email to physicscentral@aps.org. The film deadline is January 15, 2008. The winner will be announced on Super Bowl Sunday, February 3, 3008. For more details and contest rules, see www.physicscentral.com/nanobowl.

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Alan Chodos
Contributing Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff

November 2007 (Volume 16, Number 10)

APS News Home

Issue Table of Contents

APS News Archives

Contact APS News Editor

Articles in this Issue
Seven Apker Finalists Meet in Washington
Physics Fans Get Chance to Win World's Smallest Trophy
2007 Nobel Prize Honors GMR Discovery
Eight Physicists Honored at November Division Meetings
Monica Plisch, Catherine Mader Join APS Education Team
Lidar, Laser Sperm Traps Highlight Annual OSA/DLS Meeting
From Researching the Universe to Running the University: The Physicist as President
National Summit Urges Commitment to Competitiveness
Media Fellows Bring Science to the Masses
2008 Prize and Award Recipients
Members in the Media
This Month in Physics History
Washington Dispatch
International News
Zero-Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science
The Back Page