Oh say can you see?


Seeing is believing, at least for the Guinness Book of World Records, which recently turned down a submission from a team of University of Texas students who spent months building a three-dimensional, seven-micron-tall American flag that they claim is the world’s smallest.

The image of the flag, which includes all 50 stars and 13 stripes, was transferred onto a silicon wafer. Then the flag and its pole were cut using an ion beam and lifted to a standing position by a nano-manipulator.

The reason it was rejected by Guinness? “They told us they don’t have a method to actually see the flag,” said JangBae Jeong, one of the electrical engineering students on the design team.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas claim to have built the smallest American flag in the world - shown here in a colorized image - but the Guinness Book of World Records wants better proof. Image courtesy of The University of Texas at Dallas
Click here to enlarge image

Moon Kim, the engineering professor who oversaw the team, was disappointed by the rejection. “Even though we provided them with all the information and have witnesses to attest to its size, they said they had no way to judge it because it’s too small.”

But, he adds, he won’t dwell on the loss. He considered resubmitting the material, but decided not to because he is “busy working on cooler stuff.” That includes designing the world’s smallest book, complete with tiny pages and full text. Once that’s done, said Kim, maybe the Guinness Book will be ready to reconsider its point of view.

- Sarah Fister Gale