How big is a nanometer?

Nano, a prefix meaning "dwarf" in Greek, also means one billionth. A nanometer is therefore one billionth of a meter. To provide a sense of scale, here are the measurements of some readily visible objects.

• The period at the end of this sentence is almost 500,000 nanometers in diameter.

• A penny is about 19,000,000 nanometers wide.

• A basketball is about 239,506,000 nanometers wide.

• Stanford basketball player Brooke Lopez is about 2,130,000,000 nanometers tall.

— Arden Pennell


Like this comment
Posted by An Engineer
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 22, 2008 at 5:42 pm

The wavelength of the ubiquitous yellow light emitted by sodium atoms is 589 nanometers. A candle flame is a good example: Web Link.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 23, 2008 at 12:34 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Anyone ever wonder why we don't have a metric day? Apparently Napoleon decreed it, but the watchmakers told him to make his own clocks.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Cherries and Berries
By Laura Stec | 3 comments | 1,407 views

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 787 views

Meeting Other New Parents
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 599 views


One more week to vote!

Don't forget to cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 29th. Stay tuned for the results in the July 21st issue of the Palo Alto Weekly.