Nanotechnology: Science, Innovation, and Opportunity, compiled by Lynn E. Foster and published by Prentice Hall, is an excellent introduction into the world of nanotechnology and the possibilities it brings.  The book is a collection of 20 chapters written by different authors, all experts in their field, on the major topics concerning nanotechnology.  It begins with general discussions on the possibilities of nanotechnology, like thoughts on energy independence by Richard Smalley, for which the Smalley Institute at Rice University is named.  It then moves to identifying those involved with research, development, and funding of nanotechnology, such as the role of venture capitalists and university technology transfer.  Following that is a series of chapters on specific applications of nanotechnology, such as drug delivery systems and bio-nano-information fusion.  Finally, the book concludes with a transcript of the presentation "Infinitesimal Machinery" that Richard Feynman gave, rather prophetically, to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1983.

While Nanotechnology focuses on increasingly technical subjects as it progresses, the book is an easy to read glimpse into industries that nanotechnology is impacting.  Its broad coverage is supplemented by notes and references at the end of each chapter, providing readers an opportunity to delve deeper individual subjects.  For anyone looking to learn more about nanotechnology, its applications, and implications, Nanotechnology, is an excellent primer, and will hold the attention of both the casual reader and those studying this new technology alike.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to introduce you to one other option for reading about nanotechnology.  As an indicator as to how this field is beginning to take off, you can now find Nanotechnology for Dummies at your local bookstore.  Like other books in the "for Dummies" series, Nanotechnology for Dummies, by Richard Booker and Earl Boysen, is designed to be a straight-forward and easy introduction into nanotechnology.  While I have not read the book in its entirety, I see it as a solid reference when a quick tutorial on individual topics is needed.  And with the inclusion of the occasional one-liner and cartoon, its also entertaining.