Some of you might remember that the steady hands over at the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility apparently did not have enough work to do about a year ago, so they gave themselves some busywork -- like nanosizing the American flag and the White House. Actually, they millimetersized them, but used some tools of the nano trade to create flags 3 millimeters wide and 1.5 millimeters tall, and a bunch of White Houses -- one 4.5 millimeters across and four others at 510 micrometers across.
These small tokens of Cornell's appreciation were given last year to presidents Clinton and Bush for their respective roles in launching the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative and signing the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act. If nothing else, both efforts proved to be incredibly lucrative for universities that were prepared to add the nano prefix to their programs.
Cornell has about a hundred of those little things hanging around, so they're auctioning them on eBay until May 18. Proceeds will benefit Main Street Science, a "not-for-profit that supports the development of science learning activities for children and adults. "
No word on what became of Clinton's little instrument.