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Eighth Foresight Conference to Examine Expanding Field of Molecular Nanotechnology

Growth in basic research rapidly bringing nanotechnology closer to important practical applications

The Eighth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology will bring together leaders in the field of molecular nanotechnology for a comprehensive overview of this rapidly expanding area of research and development. The Conference will be held in Bethesda, Maryland from November 3-5, 2000 at the Hyatt Hotel, One Bethesda Metro, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

This conference is a meeting of scientists and technologists working in fields leading toward molecular nanotechnology: thorough three-dimensional structural control of materials and devices at the molecular level.

"This year's conference is particularly important," said conference Co-Chair Jan H. Hoh, a researcher with the Department of Physiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "Advances in basic theory and experimental research are rapidly bringing nanotechnology closer to important and practical applications. In addition to the growth in basic research activities related to nanotechnology, we are also seeing increased interest from the business and venture capital sectors seeking to turn the results of that research to real-world uses."

Over the next few decades, manufacturing is expected to undergo a profound change. Advances in miniaturization will reach the level of individual atoms and products will be designed and built to atomically-precise specifications. In the last year alone, several leading researchers in such diverse fields of molecular electronics and fullerene nanotube materials have formed private-sector firms with the aim of developing commercial products based on their nanotechnology research.

The conference will cover topics relevant to the pursuit of molecular control, drawing from fields such as molecular electronics, biochemical molecular engineering, scanning probe microscopy, supramolecular chemistry and self-assembly, natural and artificial molecular machines, nanomaterials and mechanosynthesis, mechanical engineering and robotics, and applications of nanotechnology.

This year's keynote speaker will be Raymond Kurzweil, Kurzweil Technologies, Inc.; Recipient of the 1999 National Medal of Technology Award. He will speak on "The Twenty First Century: A Confluence of Accelerating Revolutions."

This year's conference will also be the first held since the advent of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), proposed by President Clinton in his request for the Fiscal Year 2001 U.S. federal budget. The NNI proposes a $227 million increase in the government's investment in nanotechnology research and development, and will nearly double federal spending in the emerging field of nanoscale science and technology over the next five years. The plan calls for to a total of $497 million in nanotechnology research and development spending for FY2001.

Cheryl L. Shavers, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology at the U.S. Department of Commerce, will participate in a special session during the conference and speak on the topic of "Nanotech Enterprise." Dr. Shavers oversees the department's Technology Administration and the Office of Technology Policy. As Under Secretary for Technology, she serves as senior advisor to the Secretary of Commerce in forming new policies and program initiatives in the areas of science and technology.

Annual Feynman Prize Awards

In addition, the 2000 Annual Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology will be awarded during a special evening banquet session. The annual Feynman Prizes are sponsored by the Foresight Institute to recognize recent achievements that contribute to the development of nanotechnology, and to encourage and accelerate that development.

Two prizes, in the amount of $5,000 each, will be awarded to the researchers whose recent work has most advanced the development of molecular nanotechnology. Separate prizes will be awarded for theoretical work and for experimental work.

The Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology are named in honor of Nobel laureate physicist Richard P. Feynman who, in 1959, gave a visionary talk at Caltech in which he said "The problems of chemistry and biology can be greatly helped if our ability to see what we are doing, and to do things on an atomic level, is ultimately developed—a development which I think cannot be avoided."

Additional Information Available on the Web

For more information on the conference, see the conference Web page at:

For more information about the Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology, visit



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