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1996 Senior Associate Gathering


October 18-20, 1996 Topics and activities Other Information
Friday, October 18
Saturday, October 19
Sunday, October 20
Welcoming Reception
Introductions and Overviews
Hands-on Molecular Modeling
Communicating nanotechnology
Taking Action
The Afterglow
Gathering Registration & Details
Report and Pictorial in Update 27


(The 1996 Gathering is over. The schedule is archived here as an example of activities featured at Senior Associate Gatherings.)

Friday, October 18

8 - 10 PM: Welcoming Reception

On your badge, put your guesstimate:
In what year will the Feynman Grand Prize be won?

Saturday, October 19

Introduction to the Senior Associates Gathering.
Munch on bagels and cream cheese while you get briefed on:

9:00 - 9:45 AM: Foresight: Looking Back and Looking Ahead
(Eric Drexler)

On the tenth anniversary for Foresight and Engines of Creation, Eric looks at past successes and those that still need to be achieved.

9:45 - 10:30 AM: Computational Nanotechnology Takes Off
(Ralph Merkle)

Before we can build, we need designs. Ralph surveys work in this growing research community and updates us on his computational experiments at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.

10:30 - 10:45 AM: Beverage break. Check out other Senior Associates' guesstimates.

10:45 - 11:30 AM: R&D Progress Overview
(Jim Lewis, Ted Kaehler)

Tracking and interpreting the expanding body of nanotechnology-related work is a tough job -- Jim and Ted guide us through the maze.

11:30 - Noon: The $250,000 Question: When?

Our morning speakers and the audience take on a critical aspect of this question: Will control software be the crucial problem on the path to nanotechnology? Winning the Feynman Grand Prize will require building the equivalent of a nanorobot. Today robotics is hindered by control software issues. Will this hold nanotechnology back, too?

Saturday Noon - 1:30 PM: South-of-the-Border Poolside Lunch (included). Theme discussions at each lunch table. At the end of lunch, update your guesstimate.

1:30 - 3:00 PM: Hands-On Molecular Modeling:

Split into teams and get your hands virtually dirty in nano-scale design and "construction." We'll have hardware, software and roaming instruction by Computer Camp Coaches Eric Drexler, Ralph Merkle, and others.

Actual Designs by a Senior Associate
Molecular models of an Extensible Nanotube Segment and a Molecular Octet-truss by Patrick G. Salsbury, 1996

1:30 - 3:00 PM: Personal Poster (in parallel)

While your teammates get trained, make your personal "poster", in tandem post it, then tour the room and see who's here. Add your name to the posters of those you'd like to meet. Topics to cover in your poster:

3:00 - 3:30 PM: Dessert Break featuring Seidler's Sinful Snacks and Tremendously Tempting Treats. Tour the personal posters and start connecting up with the Senior Associates you want to meet.

3:30-4:30 PM: Molecular Object Design Contest: the NanoOlympics.

Rejoin your team to design and "build" simple molecular objects.

4:30-5:00 PM: Nano Web Tour:

Offline virtual tour of the Web's nanotechnology sites. The good, the bad, the excellent, the unhelpful.

5:00 PM: Dinner on your own, in self-assembling groups. (See the restaurant list for places within walking distance.)

In parallel, and separate from the Senior Associate Gathering: Foresight Tenth Anniversary Reception and Dinner (off-site)

Sunday, October 20

Sunday morning: Communicating nanotechnology.
Nosh on more bagels and cream cheese Sunday morning while you compare notes with nanotech communicators:

9:00 - 9:10 AM: College-Bound Education Project
(Elaine Tschorn)

Somewhere out there are hordes of bright high school kids who deserve to have their minds saved from media sludge. We're here to help! Elaine wants to use this project to win the hearts and minds of the innocent youth and lure them into college careers aimed at nanotechnology. Let's get these kids ready to work on nanotech products. Not only will the kids thank us for this, but in the years to come-- as we do technical recruiting for our nanotech start-ups -- we'll thank ourselves.

9:10 - 9:45 AM: Nanotechnology in the Media: From single-view coverage to multi-view debate
(Lew Phelps)

For the first ten years, Foresight had to rely on the media to get its message out. Foresight's recent Web debate with Scientific American shows how this is changing for the better.

9:45 - 10:15 AM: Presenting Nanotechnology Information: Do's and Don'ts, Lessons Learned
(Ed Niehaus, Chris Peterson, Gayle Pergamit)

Core dump of nanotech communication experience. The key: knowing what your listener is ready to hear.

10:15 - 10:45 AM: Beverage Break

10:45 - 11:30 AM: Nanotechnology and Space
(Al Globus)

Besides his computational nanotechnology work for NASA, Al runs a wonderful site highlighting what nanotechnology can do for a popular Senior Associate goal: space settlement. We'll hear how successful this meme is becoming, and what this means for computational nanotechnology at NASA.

two examples of artistic renderings of scenes inside future space colonies

Full size versions of paintings are available at nasa.gov.

11:30 - Noon: Tales from the Front Lines of Communications:

Group discussion of your experience in spreading these memes. Successes and failures at conveying what nanotechnology is, why it's important, how it should be included in plans for the future. What kind of people "get it" and which don't: scientists, engineers, businesspeople, doctors? People in positions of authority in science and technology, e.g. your thesis advisor, the head of your lab. The role of paper and web info. Anecdotes and observations.

Noon - 1:30 PM: Probably-More-Than-We-Ought-to-Eat Big Buffet Smorgasbord Sunday Brunch (included).
Theme discussions at each table. Update your guesstimate on your badge.

Sunday afternoon: Taking Action:
How you can make a difference via Foresight's current and afternoon upcoming projects.

1:30 - 1:50 PM: Nanotechnology Database Project
(Robert Armas)

As the trickle of nanotechnology activity becomes a flood, we need a way to organize and access it: an Information Central for nanotechnology. To find your niche in nanotechnology, join us in reshaping this information flow into useable form.

1:50 - 2:10 PM: Web Upload Project
(Jim Lewis, Foresight Webmaster)

You'd expect the biggest beneficiaries of the web to be new, multidisciplinary fields like ours, and you'd be right. We've seen tremendous payoffs to our field already. The opportunities here are boggling. Help Foresight boggle the world with the quantity and quality of our presentations in this new medium.

2:10 - 2:30 PM: "State of the Field" Report on Nanotechnology
(Richard Terra)

Yet another idea born at last year's meeting has taken shape. Richard explains the goal, how to help, and how to get the Report into the hands of those who should see it.

2:30 - 3:00 PM: Web Enhancement Project

Ten years ago, Engines of Creation helped promote the goal of hypertext publishing. Now we're on the verge of getting the features we need to debate important issues, e.g. nanotechnology technical and policy options. We'll get a progress report on what's available, what's soon to be available, and when Senior Associates can start demonstration debates, with the goal of setting a new, higher quality standard for serious debate.

3:00 - 3:15 Beverage Break. Take this opportunity to give your name to leaders of projects you'd like to work on.

3:15 - 3:45 PM: Looking Backward: Using Scenarios to Choose Action

We'll break into groups, each examining a "headline" announcing a nanotechnology-related future event.
Placing yourself in that timeframe, look back and project a scenario for how this event came to occur.

Sample headline: "US Announces Apollo-style Nanotech Project: We'll have an assembler in my term, vows President"

3:45 - 4:45 PM: Groups give capsule summaries of their scenarios.
4:45 - 5:00 PM: Review of Feynman Grand Prize date guesstimates: did yours change and if so, how?

Gathering conclusions, requests, pats on the back, and farewells.same Promises to meet again next year, same time, place.

5:00 PM End.
Head for the airport, or hang around the pool and schmooze.

poolside photo of Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn
Palo Alto/Stanford
625 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

Senior Associate Gathering Registration & Details

Palo Alto/Stanford Holiday Inn, Palo Alto, California

The conference is at the Holiday Inn, Palo Alto/Stanford:

625 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(415) 328-2800spacer imageFAX (415) 327-7362
For Reservations Call: 1-800 874 3516 (CA)