A few weeks ago, I talked to someone about Mutable Matter and my desire to make people experience what is happening at the ‘nanoscale’ in symbolic ways. His instant reaction was: ‘Velcro suits’. Indeed, Velcro suits would be a means of illustrating what fellow blogger Richard Jones would describe as the ‘stickiness’ problem, or that of matter having different properties at a molecular level. This leads to amusing headlines such as: ‘Scientists discover water is sticky at a small scale’ .
This changing of properties brought back memories of my course against fear of flying, where the pilots described how they experienced flying more as navigating their vessel through a thick liquid – which is how the air felt to them. Further comparisons were made with ‘upside down ships’ (how comforting!). There are actually a few computer games on the web where you can ‘shrink yourself’ to the nanoscale and experience the properties of matter there, for instance, the Science Museum’s Duckboy in Nanoland. Don’t worry, I try not too take too much inspiration from that for my own project – nobody will have to swim through treacle!