Nanotechnology Project


The Twinkie Guide to Nanotechnology

New Video Uses Snack Food to Help Unlock Mysteries of Nanotech

Andrew Maynard WASHINGTON- The Twinkie Guide to Nanotechnology is an entertaining new video featuring scientist Andrew Maynard which mixes the iconic American snack cake with humor to unlock the mysteries of nanotechnology.

Maynard serves up the complexities of nanoscience in enticing, digestible, bite-size morsels. It is a friendly, funny, 25-minute travel guide to the technology that promises to ignite the next industrial revolution. In the video, Maynard shows products that use nanotechnology today. And he travels into the future to demonstrate how nanotechnology will change virtually everything—in medicine, energy, materials, travel and electronics.

Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. A human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide.

One of the hardest concepts to convey about nanotechnology is the unbelievably small scale. “Putting a nanoparticle on a Twinkie is comparable in scale to putting a Twinkie on the moon,” said Dr. Maynard. “It is difficult for people to imagine gold, silver, carbon or platinum the size of one nanometer. Without a microscope, the human eye cannot see anything below 10,000 nanometers.”

The Twinkie Guide to Nanotechnology can also be found at the website for Consumers TalkNano.

Consumers TalkNano. was an exciting online discussion that took place, October 23-24, 2007. The Project collaborated with Consumers Union, publishers of Consumer Reports, in an effort to jumpstart a conversation with consumers about the possible benefits and risks of nanotechnology.

Archived information regarding this dialogue is available at

The website provides more details about ConsumersTalkNano, nanotechnology, nano-enabled consumer products, and related safety questions.

View the Video

The following formats require Quicktime to view – right click/choose “save as” and download to desktop for faster viewing