The Proceedings of the 1989 NanoCon Northwest regional
nanotechnology conference, with K. Eric Drexler as Guest of Honor.
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NANOCON PROCEEDINGS page 10
VI. CRITICAL PATH PANEL
A. DELPHI Survey
E. DREXLER: In the last session, we discussed the perception
of nanotechnology in the technical community and the importance of credibility
for these concepts as the foundation of any sensible policy discussions.
There is in the audience someone who has not been prepped for this, who
is participating in a policy research project on nanotechnology at the LBJ
School of Public Affairs in Austin, Texas. I would like her to say a couple
of words on that project, and on the results of attempting to get a group
of technical people to participate in a Delphi survey on the prospect of
nanotechnology, and the reactions of the half who did not want to participate.
L. COBB: We were hired by FutureTrends to do a research project on the political,
social, and economic implications of nanotechnology if it does come about.
We decided to do a Delphi study, in which you send out a first round of
questions, tabulate all the results, and then send to everyone who participated
the answers from the first round of questions, delineating the positions
and reasons of the people at each end of the survey, and get people in the
second round to either defend or change their positions. The purpose of
the survey was to estimate when nanotechnology would arrive, and by what
path, what government regulations would be pertinent.
We questioned 200 scientists chosen from the literature prominent in the
paths that Mr. Drexler says will be important for the development of nanotechnology.
About half said that they would not participate because of the reputation
that nanotechnology has associated with it. They called people involved
with it the lunatic fringe. I find it very interesting that the existence
of a science-fiction oriented group such as this is making it very hard
for nanotechnology to be taken seriously in the technological arena. The
paradox seems to be that if you want it to come about, you can't talk about
E. DREXLER: I would emphasize that I have been invited to give talks at
places like the physical sciences colloquium series at IBM's main research
center, at Xerox PARC, etc., so these ideas are being taken seriously by
serious technical people, but it is a mixed reaction. You want that reaction
to be as positive as possible, so I plead with everyone to please keep the
level of cult-ishness and bullshit down, and even to be rather restrained
in talking about wild consequences, which are in fact true and technically
defensible, because they don't sound that way. People need to have their
thinking grow into longer term consequences gradually; you don't begin
LINDA COBB: We have just sent out the first round for the Delphi. We have
several scenario-generating groups at work. This conference has been very
interesting to me because the science fiction people have been more inventive
in their scenarios then have the social science people. We will later have
several focus groups with social scientists to explain nanotechnology to
them and have them think about its consequences.
The report will be available about August, and will be available for $8-10.
The address will be announced by The Foresight Institute [P.O. Box 61058,
Palo Alto, CA 94306].
B. John Cramer
This is supposed to be a panel on critical paths to nanotechnology-- how
to we get from where we are to the first generation of nanotechnology capabilities.
I'd like to give us a frame of reference for the idea that there is more
than one way to get there by using a list of ideas of paths there that I
made for a talk that I gave to the Student Nanotechnology Study Group of
the University of Washington. Secondly, I'd like to talk about some of the
roadblocks on those paths. I'd like then to let each panel member introduce
himself and make some introductory remarks, and then move into the workshop
mode with as much interaction with the audience as possible.
The paths that I see are:
- Molecular Biology. The discussion yesterday dramatically
illustrated this. It is possible to synthesize DNA, small molecules and
whole genes. If you could do that cleverly enough, you might be able to
produce a second generation ribosome, that has capabilities that natural
ribosomes don't, and thus boot yourself toward a general assembler.
- Chemical Synthesis to make components for nano-machines.
- Micro-circuit Technology. VLSI is evolving toward X-ray lithography.
People have made gears, etc, at the micron level scale.
- Feynman Machines (FM). Richard Feynman described
a scenario back in the 50's where you use a small machine to build a
smaller machine, etc. down to the atomic scale.
- The Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM), which has been recently
developed, and about which we probably should have heard more at this conference
than we have, is an example of a one step FM where one goes directly from
the laboratory scale down to the atomic scale.
- Atom Trapping is being developed in physics to trap single
atoms or small groups of atoms in laser beams or magnetic fields so that
they can be manipulated by them.
The roadblocks are:
None of the possible ways is wonderful. They all have problems, but maybe
by some combination we will get where we want to be.
- Molecular Biology. Proteins are fragile. Synthesis is one
dimensional so that you require proteins to fold themselves into a useful
form. This folding is not presently understood well enough to predict what
sequence will fold into what structure. Another problem is the energy scale.
Biomolecules have a narrow range of energies in which bonds can be formed
and broken. A lot of the functions that we discuss for nanomachines involve
bonding strengths that are well beyond the range of what is possible for
biological molecules. We need to learn how to work with strong bonds. There
are quantum effects that begin to come into play on the nanoscale. Finally,
there is a complexity barrier. Is this system going to be so complicated
that we don't know how to do it?
- Chemical synthesis. There are problems with speed and that
it may be difficult to do things in high enough multiplicity to make the
numbers of nanomachines that would be needed, as well as some of the problems
associated with molecular biology.
- Micro-circuits. It will be difficult to get to the nanoscale
because of wavelengths. This technology is designed for working on a flat
surface as opposed to making 3-dimensional structures. The quantum interference
problem is also relevant, as well as the fact that circuits are not a complete
machine, which would require gears and such.
- The Feynman machine approach has the problem that a new set
of physical difficulties arises at each plateau due to scaling problems,
involving the square-cube law. If the Feynman approach were easy, it would
have probably been done since the idea has been around for a long time.
- The STM has difficulty in precisely manipulating atoms.
- Atom trapping works best with ions rather than neutral atoms
so that it is hard to do bonding. It is difficult to trap dissimilar ions
at the same time and there is no mechanism for making and breaking bonds.
C. Vonda McIntyre
I'm one of those weird "Sci-Fi" writers who understands that "Sci-Fi"
is in quotes.
I find myself in an interesting reverse position here. I've been at similar
conferences and found myself listening to panelists talking as if there
would be no progress. My reaction was that "You don't understand. Things
will change, become different, easier, etc."
Now I feel a little bit of how they felt. I think that we must respect people's
fear. There has been a lot of talk here of lumpenproletariat and luddites.
The luddites had in fact good reason to be frightened. They were losing
their livelihoods. Mr. Drexler has said repeatedly here that his vision
is for a world of plenty, but others of us have been talking about proprietary
rights and making money. People don't hear about plenty; they hear that
their jobs are going to disappear. We can not just ignore this question
because we can see it happening now.
D. Mike Thomas
I program computers using a technology called artificial intelligence. Several
people have talked about the software problem-- how will you program and
control these devices. The technology to do so is growing very quickly but
is nowhere near the complexity necessary to control nanodevices. But there
are new technologies in artificial intelligence, neural networks etc, that
are leading toward self-programing and learning systems.
In the near term, how we will communicate with the nano devices is a problem...
E. DREXLER: One small interjection. Not all nano-mechanisms
are more complex than devices that we are familiar with. Some are simple;
some are complex. It is important to distinguish those categories.
OK. At this point we can do something about the
simple instructions. Long term, the technology needs to evolve a lot. We
will need to see things like parallel processing, more work with interfaces
-- getting a neural network running is one thing, but how do you talk with
it and understand its reasoning?
We're not there, but the path is fairly straight-forward. The time frame
probably matches that for development of the nanodevices.
E. Eric Drexler
I would like to comment on [John Cramer's] paths to the development of nanotechnology.
I tend to think of the first two paths mentioned as different approaches
to a folding polymer path to nanotechnology, in one case using proteins,
in the other case using chemically synthesized polymers that are like proteins
or DNA or something else.
The miniaturization approach is a silicon technology. There my inclination
is to say that miniaturization is not what nanotechnology is about. Nanotechnology
is about control of the structure of matter rather than about scale.
All that small systems can do in terms of manipulating atoms is get you
smaller hands to grab things with and to position things more accurately.
But that is an illusion because the STM and the atomic force microscope
(AFM) can already position things to the required accuracy without themselves
being small. They show that in the micro-manipulation path there is no requirement
for the manipulators themselves to be small, although the actual tools at
the end of the manipulator need to be.
In the STM area, people do keep coming up with serendipitous developments.
A likely development there is some hybrid of a folded polymer approach to
making sophisticated tools, and then using one of these positioning devices
to use those tools.
The category of trapping is appealing because people are working with single
atoms, and you can show pictures of single atoms. One thing I can say for
shock value is that there is no virtue in handling atoms one at a time.
You would like to handle vast numbers of atoms in parallel and have all
of them do what you want. Furthermore the ion traps cannot position the
atoms that they are working with to atomic precision...
J. CRAMER: That's not true. The laser traps are
trapping ensembles of atoms that have a regular periodic structure to them...
E. DREXLER: So they're electrostatically confining each other...
J. CRAMER: Exactly. You could have a group of carbon atoms that assembles
into a diamond rod.
That's something that I hadn't looked into-- an
interesting point. The other problems that you cited are also quite substantial.
So that's an interesting area to keep an eye on.
I tend to focus on learning techniques for the folding polymer approach
because chemists handle vast numbers of molecules at a time. A trillion
molecules is a very small amount for a chemist, but a very large amount
if you're building them one at a time. In most cases you would prefer to
have many rather than a few.
F. Jim Lewis
I'm a molecular biologist, working with tumor viruses and oncogenes. To
put into perspective the progress and the possible near term future of the
folding polymer approach, I'd like to make a few observations about where
the biotechnology industry, as I see it, is at the moment, and how that
differs from where we need to be for the folding polymer approach. Nevertheless
I see reasons to be optimistic that major advances are not far off.
The first generation of biotechnology has been involved in finding ways
to identify and isolate the genes for various valuable proteins that are
made in nature in very small amounts, and to find ways to make them in very
The second generation, which is already well under way, is using rational
design to make more effective biological molecules. An example is the biggest
selling product in biotechnology at the moment, tPA (tissue plasminogen
activator) which is an enzyme that dissolves blood clots.
J. CRAMER: It essentially turns off heart attacks!
Yes. There is a lot of work now to design a better
tPA by making minor, but important, modifications.
To move toward nanotechnology, we need the approach that Eric mentioned
three years ago in Engines
of Creation [Editor's note: And five years before that
in his paper on molecular engineering].
Instead of worrying about the very difficult questions of how enzymes work,
which would be the straight forward extension of what biotechnology is doing
now, we need to design proteins that will have simple folding rules and
use them as building blocks to make more complicated tools. There has been
substantial progress in this area, as Eric alluded to on Friday night. Last
summer in the journal Science, a group at DuPont reported the
success of designing from scratch a protein sequence that had no counterpart
in nature, but which would fold into a particular structure that is a subunit
in many enzymes. [Editor's note: "Characterization of a helical
protein designed from first principles" by L. Regan & W.F. DeGrado.
1988. Science 241: 976-978.]
Although the protein folding problem is by no means close to being solved,
it has suddenly moved from a peripheral issue to a mainstream issue of molecular
biology. Molecular biology started in the early 50's, with Watson &
Crick, at the level of 3-dimensional structure, and then went into something
very different - genetics and linear sequences of information, etc. Now
it's back to focusing on 3-D structure. At the American Association for
the Advancement of Science meeting last month in San Francisco one of the
small number of major symposiums was devoted to progress on the protein
I have a sense of the general atmospherics that is very similar to how I
felt when I entered molecular biology as a postdoc in the early 70's. At
that time, nobody had any understanding of how to deal with the complex
genetic information of a higher organism. There was a feeling that if you
started by studying a few very small tumor viruses, you would somehow figure
out in a very mysterious way how a complex organism like a mammalian cell
would work. Somewhere in the hinterland of science there were people working
on restriction systems in bacteria - how bacteria defend themselves from
foreign DNA molecules. Three years later the entire methodology of recombinant
DNA had evolved. I think there is reason to think that there might be substantial
progress in the protein folding problem as well.
One other category to mention is the renewed emphasis on trying to understand
how catalysis works. Two developments that have changed conventional biochemical
attitudes are abzymes and catalytic RNA.
Abzymes are a hybrid between antibodies and enzymes. Nature has only designed
a few thousand enzymes to do a relatively small number of chemical reactions,
but the immune system can make about ten million different antibodies. People
have found techniques to make antibodies to compounds that mimic the transition
state of the reaction that they want to drive. They found that these antibodies
have catalytic activity.
RNA has existed in the molecular biology paradigm as the middle man in the
flow of information between DNA and protein. Several years ago, it was found
that RNA can have enzymatic activity, as do proteins. This has become an
intensely studied area and people are talking about RNA as the primordial
molecule in biological evolution.
G. Bruce Robinson
I'm in the chemistry department at the University of Washington. The old
Chinese proverb is that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single
step. What scientists have to worry about is what do I do when I go into
the laboratory today. Most good scientists should look to what they could
accomplish in 20-30 years, but then try to build a path to that on a daily
basis. We have to get there based on the things that we know how to do already.
It is thus an enormous task for all of us to consider what we can do now
that will lead in the direction that Eric Drexler has indicated.
I find it interesting that many scientists did not want to respond [in the
Delphi survey, see above] to questions about
nanotechnology policy because I know from my own experience that many scientists
are looking towards these kinds of technologies, but perhaps only in terms
of a specific contribution that they might want to make toward that goal.
We have to drop a few steps and start with self-assembling systems as intermediates
toward self-replicating systems. What is really required is more control
in the technologies that we have now over the ways in which molecules assemble.
What molecule do you want to assemble? What are the problems in assembling
it currently? What new techniques are necessary? These questions will lead
to an enormous multitude of paths, most of which will be blind alleys. There
will be a few individuals that find the "NorthWest Passage."
Another problem that scientists have is, once they've made something, to
prove that they've made it. This usually requires techniques where 1013
molecules is a small number, although sometimes it can be done with ~1010
One last comment: the more you talk about more distant technology, the less
that it is correlated with what we can do in the laboratory. We have to
build backward from a vision to what we can do now. Building the very first
step is quite difficult.
J. CRAMER: I'd like now to strongly encourage participation from the audience.
AUDIENCE: I was reading in The Tomorrow Makers [Grant Fjermedal,
1986, MacMillan Publishing Company, 866 Third Avenue, New York NY 10022]
that pioneers in AI often had hobby interests as children that gave them
a real head start on their scientific careers. What could you suggest for
children today that would give them an edge in molecular technology 15-20
years from now?
J. CRAMER: You're suggesting there should be a kit left under the Christmas
tree that would be about nanotechnology?
AUDIENCE: Over in Bagley Hall [UW, Dept. of Chemistry] there is a scanning
tunneling microscope that almost looks as though an experimenter could put
one together in his basement.
J. CRAMER: As a matter of fact, in the student Nanotechnology Study Group
there is a student who is doing just that, but hasn't quite succeeded yet.
E. DREXLER: Tinker Toys are a bad model for molecules because they don't
have tetrahedral coordination. Buy a kid a molecular model kit early on
and let them get used to the geometry of molecules.
J. CRAMER: Also there are some pretty nifty computer programs coming along
that will do molecular modeling on your own computer screen. Right now these
are the property of professionals that spend many thousands of dollars,
but soon they should get much cheaper.
AUDIENCE: Perhaps some of the advantages expected from nanotechnology could
be used as an argument for putting more money into the educational system
in this country, which is in such disrepair right now.
G. FJERMEDAL: The guy in our group who has the nanoscope all but built is
here: Rick Burton! With a mail order catalogue, he got the piezo-ceramics,
he worked in the physics department with the milling machine, he built a
board to connect it to his PC clone. What have your costs been so far?
R. BURTON: I think one can be built for less than $500.
G. FJERMEDAL: Rick showed me a catalogue last night where they had a rock-bottom
one for $69,000.
J. CRAMER: Maybe we should point out that initially, when the STM was developed,
it was believed that it would need expensive high vacuum equipment. It turns
out to work quite well in air or under water or other media.
AUDIENCE: I'd like to point out that the technologies we're talking about
- STM and biotechnology - are less than 30 years old so that when we're
building general assemblers decades in the future we will probably have
very different technologies.
J. CRAMER: That's a good point. Looking in the future is for steering, not
charting a path. At every step, the details have to be revised. Someone
pointed out that, if after the Civil War, the federal government had decided
to build a machine to put music in the home of every American, what you
would have gotten was some sort of one-man-band, automatic pipe organ rather
than a modern stereo because no one at that time would have been able to
chart an accurate course to get from that point to where we are now.
E. DREXLER: The reason for making a 5 year plan is not to tell you what
you will be doing in 5 years; it is to tell you what to do today in order
to get somewhere interesting. Next year you make another 5 year plan. The
reason for a 20 year plan is to help you make a more sensible 5 year plan.
V. McINTYRE: Is there a drawback to being in the forefront of this? The
USA was in the forefront of television and now we're stuck with resolution
considerably less than the Europeans have.
J. CRAMER: In cases where it is necessary to establish standards so that
everyone has to march in step, the first wave of technology is likely to
get locked into a form less desirable than what comes later. It isn't clear
that applies in this case.
B. ROBINSON: It seems that the leading edge of a technology moves around
the world; i.e, from the US to the Japanese, who are now scared of the Koreans.
You may be first in the beginning and then again several rounds later.
AUDIENCE: Does anyone know where the Japanese are headed with their research
E. DREXLER: I don't know in detail. The grand visions that they have sketched
for their Human Frontiers program (which they subsequently funded at a miniscule
level) sounded a lot like steps in the direction of nanotechnology: molecular
mechanisms, building complex molecular machines, etc. Their Human Frontiers
program is intended to be an international cooperative effort, and I hope
that this country and other countries will be cooperative.
J. LEWIS: If you look at the technical literature, the Japanese are present
but not over-represented. If you're worried about Japanese competition,
the real challenge is not at the level of basic research.
J. COVINGTON: The Japanese had a very ambitious fifth generation computer
program for artificial intelligence, but it didn't work because the standards
that they established in the beginning didn't fit in the end. We could get
in the same mess by saying now, for example, that biotechnology is the way
to go when instead we need to be flexible all the way along.
J. CRAMER: A very good point. Freeman Dyson gave a talk here last year and
described the fallacy of premature choice. In areas where a lot
of money is being spent, e.g., NASA, and there are several alternatives,
funding agencies show an irresistible urge to kill all the alternatives
except the one favored (usually for political reasons). You end up marching
down one path that might turn out to be a blind alley. One wants to proceed
along a broad front when you don't quite know where you're going. I don't
think that should be much of a problem for nanotechnology because the up-front
investment is small.
M. THOMAS: I'd like to respond to the comment about the fifth generation
project. Indeed they locked themselves into some technologies and languages
that appeared to be the most favorable but turned out not to be adaptable.
But they learned from that, the project is on-going, and they sent many
people over here to learn our approaches, and they are even with or ahead
of us in some aspects of AI. They just started a new initiative, the sixth
generation, to develop biological computing devices.
G. FJERMEDAL: Carnegie-Mellon University recently instituted a nanotechnology
studies institute. A few years ago, I talked to its director. At the time
he could not get American funding, but he had a large group of Japanese
businessmen willing to underwrite his entire project. One project concerned
rhodopsin, the protein in the rod cells of the eye that reacts to light.
They were going to paint some onto a disk to get optical storage. He finally
got US funding, but the Japanese are very alert to developments in these
fields and anxious to fund American scientists.
B. WEBB: It seems to me that money gets allocated to R&D in four ways.
(1) Tradition. That's obviously not going to be effective for nanotechnology...
J. CRAMER: Since I have a lab that's been funded by DOE for the last 20
years, let me comment. One of the investment strategies for government funding
is to invest in track records. To give money to people who have done good
things in the past so that they can do more good things, and that is not
such a stupid thing to do.
B. WEBB: ...(2) By fad. (3) Things that please the generals. I don't think
that we want to see nanotechnology developed as a weapons system. (4) By
bottom line-- somebody thinks he can make a profit from the R&D. I've
heard a lot about social implications and technologies, but not much about
products. I'd like hear from the panel some thoughts about near term products
that would excite the market-place.
J. LEWIS: Certainly one large area is the pharmaceuticals industry. Nothing
that they are doing is nanotechnology, but there is a large interest in
protein engineering. That will not lead to building assemblers, but it will
lead to a much better understanding of how proteins fold, which is a step
in that direction.
J. CRAMER: I would say that the pharmaceutical industry has a ball and chain
hanging on them, that their products have to be approved by the FDA. I think
you will see spin-off's from that technology in areas where you don't need
FDA approval. Non-drug biologicals might have a lot more growth potential.
G. BEAR: I think that devices that clean, paint, and refurbish surfaces
will be an area that will require fairly simple nanomachines and will make
a lot of money.
M. THOMAS: Based on Eric's studies, there are obvious applications to computer
science. If we can shrink computers and put a Cray on everybody's desk,
computing will gain enormous momentum.
E. DREXLER: Regarding pharmaceuticals, I was invited to give a talk at Upjohn.
I told them that one possible application of protein engineering and learning
how to catalyze new reactions is to develop a catalyst to put inexpensive
reactive molecules together in a novel way to make much more cheaply a pharmaceutical
that has already passed FDA approval.
AUDIENCE: If the approach to advancing research toward nanotechnology produced
spin-offs at incremental stages during the natural development of the technology,
I think government would be more inclined to sponsor non-defense research.
L. COBB: I think that a lot of paths that you talked about are already being
funded by traditional means. Almost everyone of the participants in our
survey is working on a path [toward nanotechnology] even though they might
refuse to label it nanotechnology. Nevertheless, if Mr. Drexler and others
are correct, these people will end up developing nanotechnology. As Dr.
Robinson said, there are many different paths, and trying to correlate where
you are now with where the technology might be in 50 years is nearly impossible.
I think this is another reason many of the scientists refuse to participate
in the survey: they refuse to say what will happen in the distant future
when they are too cautious to say something they are nearly sure will happen
J. CRAMER: I'd like to comment on the response of scientists to your survey.
As one who is both a scientist, and thus not supposed to indulge in speculation,
and a science fiction writer, and thus somewhat in the other direction,
I can understand both sides. Scientists do not get rewarded for making outrageous
speculations; they get punished for it by and large. If you say something
that is surprising to most people in your field, you damn well better be
able to back it up with a lot of evidence, logical arguments, and experiments
to test whether your ideas are correct. Thus the sociology of scientists
is such that they are not likely to joyfully participate in the sort of
survey that you are describing.
L. COBB: We had to promise not to reveal their names.
J. CRAMER: People like Greg [Benford] and I can work both sides of the street
and perhaps get away with it because our colleagues don't watch too closely
what we're doing on the other side.
AUDIENCE: Does anyone subsidize weird science?
J. CRAMER: There is the MacArthur Foundation, which does something a little
along those lines.
E. DREXLER: They wait until you're already famous and well supported by
a university, from what I've been able to see.
Something I alluded to in my talk on
Friday-- there is a real cultural difference between science and engineering.
It makes no sense for scientists to talk about future discoveries beyond
the sorts of things that they think they might find out about. In engineering
on the other hand, I came out of activities during the 70's where people
were asking what sorts of things could be done when we have less expensive
access to space. In the aerospace field, people have a long history of looking
10-20 years ahead. We have a range of parts, we know what they can do, etc.
Engineers are very much in the business of saying "Here is a proposal
for an ambitious system that can do something as outrageous as flying a
person to the moon" and delivering on it. That's very different from
the culture of science. I don't do science.
G. BENFORD: I would like to add to the remarks about the scientific community.
You shouldn't expect them to take any risks. They see no pay-off in public
advocacy. However, one of the nice things about being a scientist who writes
science fiction is that the media pay a lot more attention to you. If you
want to have a piece in the LA Times about your opinions on, e.g., nanotechnology,
there are clear ways to get that done and reach millions of people over
the heads of your recalcitrant colleagues.
One reason for emphasizing products developed from nanotechnology is, first,
it's sort of fun. Second, you can get people who hold stock options who
might be very interested in listening to you. Third, one of the problems
of technology in modern society is that if you can't reach into the ordinary
life of an ordinary person in a way in which they identify you as both good
and new, you have got two strikes against you. One of the problems of the
nuclear industry in this country is that it has never been able to deliver
a product that had its label on it. Electricity through the wall-- you don't
know where it came from. Meanwhile, all the PR has been in the opposite
direction, nuclear weapons, etc. They have never established their constituency.
Nanotechnology could establish its constituency by producing -- a good wall
G. FJERMEDAL: Make it so practical that Middle America would just embrace
it! Bathroom cleaners, wood preservatives.
G. BEAR: Might I suggest the fabric industry. There is apparently a huge
grant available for anyone who can remove rust stains once they are set.
N. SEEMAN: Nanotechnology is not today something that simply requires engineering;
it also requires science. Scientists usually get their laboratories funded
to solve problems within the context of science -- trying to solve day-to-day
scientific problems. The reason I got involved with self-assembling DNA
that I spoke about yesterday is that, frankly, I can't grow crystals to
explore certain things on the nanometer scale. These research questions
have arisen over the last 30 years with the advent of molecular biology.
The guys in the lab will be doing more work to answer these scientific questions,
not to develop rust removers. The development of nanotechnology, I believe,
will come primarily from people trying to solve scientific problems on the
nanometer scale. I think it's important to emphasize that what is being
discussed as nanotechnology is largely the chemistry of the future.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION on nanotechnology, write to:
The Foresight Institute
Box 61058, Palo Alto, CA 94306
For a donation of $5, you can get a packet of recent papers on nanotechnology,
including ones that describe rod logic in more technical detail. For a donation
of $25, you can subscribe to the Foresight Institute newsletter "Foresight
[Editor's Note: For more up-to-date information, see the Foresight
Institute home page.]
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