A Nano Bowl trophy for the Super Bowl

In November 2007, the American Physical Society (APS) launched the Nano Bowl video contest. You have to make a video that demonstrates some aspect of physics in [American] football and send them your movie. The winner will receive the smallest trophy ever made and $1,000 in cash. This 'nanotrophy' has been created at Cornell University in the Cornell NanoScale Facility (CNF). It has been built 'around a silicon chip on which, like Russian nesting dolls, football fields nest inside one another, the largest about 12 millimeters long and the smallest only 2 microns long.' In case you're interested, you still can submit your video until February 3, 2008 (Super Bowl Sunday). But read more...

In November 2007, the American Physical Society (APS) launched the Nano Bowl video contest. You have to make a video that demonstrates some aspect of physics in [American] football and send them your movie. The winner will receive the smallest trophy ever made and $1,000 in cash. This 'nanotrophy' has been created at Cornell University in the Cornell NanoScale Facility (CNF). It has been built 'around a silicon chip on which, like Russian nesting dolls, football fields nest inside one another, the largest about 12 millimeters long and the smallest only 2 microns long.' In case you're interested, you still can submit your video until February 3, 2008 (Super Bowl Sunday). But read more... The Nano Bowl wafer You can see above the Nano Bowl wafer used to create this nanotrophy (Credit: Harold Craighead, via this page at APS). "The chip was designed and fabricated by Philip Waggoner and Benjamin Cipriany, Cornell applied and engineering physics graduate students working in the lab of Harold Craighead, the Charles W. Lake Jr. Professor of Engineering -- the same lab that created the famous nanoguitar. Waggoner and Cipriany were helped by Rob Ilic, a research associate at the Cornell NanoScale Science & Technology Facility (CNF)." The Nano Bowl trophy You can see above a picture of the Nano Bowl trophy (Credit: Harold Craighead lab). "Up close the nanotrophy chip displays an image of a football field, upper left. A tiny portion of that image, viewed under an electron microscope, is another football field, and a tiny portion of that, in turn, is the smallest field of all, 2.4 millionths of an meter long, drawn in lines 59 billionths of a meter wide." Let's read the Cornell Chronicle to learn how this nanotrophy has been built. "Under an ordinary microscope, the surface of the fingernail-sized chip displays an image of a football field and the words "Physics Central Nano Bowl Champion 2008." In the center of the field, on part of a stylized football helmet, is a tiny rectangle 120 microns long. An electron microscope would reveal that this is another football field, and in its center is yet another, only 2.4 microns long. The smallest image is drawn in lines only 59 nanometers (billionths of a meter) wide, something that can only be done with the electron-beam lithography capability of CNF." Now, let's look at the contest. It was announced in November 2007 by APS in this article, "Physics Fans Get Chance to Win World's Smallest Trophy." APS annouced on January 14, 2008 that it has extended the NanoBowl deadline until Super Bowl Sunday (February 3, 2008). But what are the rules of this contest? They're shown in the above news release and also by PhysicsCentral, an educational arm of APS on its Nanobowl Video Contest page. Here are some of these rules.

  • The contest is free and open to anyone with an interest in physics and football, but we strongly encourage physics students at all levels to enter.
  • All videos must be received by February 3, 2008.
  • Please submit your video via YouTube.com.
  • Tag your YouTube video with the term 'nanobowl' and send an email to physicscentral@aps.org with 'nanobowl' in the subject line to alert us to your video's existence.
Easy, isn't? So you have less than two weeks to create your movie and -- may be -- win the Nano Bowl. Sources: Bill Steele, Cornell Chronicle, January 9, 2008; and various websites You'll find related stories by following the links below.

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