60秒科学:Poetry Poster Sucks Up Smog

60秒科学节目(SSS)是科学美国人网站的一套广播栏目,英文名称:Scientific American - 60 Second Science,节目内容以科学报道为主,节目仅一分钟的时间,主要对当今的科学技术新发展作以简明、通俗的介绍,对于科学的发展如何影响人们的生活环境、健康状况及科学技术,提供了大量简明易懂的阐释。

Can poetry fight air pollution? Turns out it can—with the help of nanotechnology.

Tony Ryan is a polymer chemist at the University of Sheffield. He works with tiny particles of titanium dioxide, which can use sunlight to suck up smog-forming pollution and purify the air.  

To demonstrate the effect, Ryan attached a poster 20 meters tall and 10 meters wide to the side of a building in Sheffield on May 14th. The poster is coated with titanium dioxide and can consume the nitrogen oxide exhaust of about 20 cars per day. He argues that every billboard could be similarly treated to suck up pollution at an extra cost of just a few hundred dollars.

The Sheffield poster comments on its own function. Written on it is a new work by poet Simon Armitage entitled "In Praise of Air." I'll give him the final words: "… on days when thoughts are fuddled with smog / or civilization crosses the street / with a white handkerchief over its mouth / and cars blow kisses to our lips from theirs / I turn the key, throw back the lid, breathe deep. / My first word, everyone's first word, was air."

—David Biello

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