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


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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.

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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.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 32nd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 6. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details