|Webmaster's Note: The
printed version of the proceedings is no longer
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Note also that Nadrian Seeman subsequently was awarded the 1995 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for the line of research he presented at this conference.
Two nanotechnology talks were given this spring at
Hewlett-Packard: one to the Board of Directors on (March 16) and
a more general technical talk (March 30). Other nanotechnology
lectures included: Xerox PARC (March 10), the pharmaceutical
company Syntex (March 22), the Austin computer consortium MCC
(April 11), the Human Genome Conference (April 24), Argonne
National Laboratory (April 26), Union Carbide Corporate Fellows
(May 4), a retreat meeting of the Stanford Center for Integrated
Systems (May 22), and a Stanford Medical Center Immunology
Seminar (June 14).
A nanotechnology policy-oriented retreat meeting organized by Chip Morningstar was held in the Sierra south of Lake Tahoe over a June weekend; we hope to include a description of the event in our next issue.
Foresight Conference on Nanotechnology, to be held this fall,
will be an invitational meeting of scientists and technologists
working in fields leading to nanotechnology. It is sponsored by
the Foresight Institute and Global Business Network, and is
hosted by the Stanford University Department of Computer Science.
The meeting will be limited to about 150 attendees.
The conference will enable researchers to review achievements on the frontiers of molecular and microscale systems and to explore their potential interconnections. Attendees will also briefly examine and critique possible applications of this work, including the long-term promise of techniques for thorough and inexpensive control of the structure of matter.
Scientists and technologists working in relevant fields who would like to be considered for participation should send a bio, c.v., or resume, along with a brief position statement, to FI for forwarding to the technical selection committee for consideration. Emphasize your connection, if any, to the meeting's four areas of focus: (1) protein and other biomolecule engineering, (2) molecular self-assembly; biomimetic, supramolecular, and host-guest chemistry, (3) atomic imaging and positioning (i.e. scanning probe microscopy), and (4) molecular modeling. If you have published in one of these areas, feel free to send only a reprint and a couple of sentences describing your current position. (Please do not contact the FI office regarding these invitations; the committee will contact you directly if you are selected.)
This is the first in a series of conferences on nanotechnology to be sponsored by the Foresight Institute; we anticipate that later meetings will be larger and able to accommodate a broader range of attendees.
The summary of Dr. Jeff MacGillivray's talk for the MIT Nanotechnology Symposium in our last issue is in need of clarification: he does not regard conventional quantities of resources (e.g., kilograms or tons of rare metals) as being of substantial enduring value, although matter and energy on a sufficiently large scale surely will be. Also, the description of the LBJ School Project in our last issue omitted the key role played by David Armistead, founder of Futuretrends, in initiating the project and chairing (along with Roger Duncan) the Futuretrends project committee. The talk in Seattle was given at the University of Washington, not the University of Seattle.
The Foresight Institute receives hundreds of letters
requesting information and sending ideas. Herewith excerpts:
Having read Engines of Creation, I am very interested in nanotechnology and agree wholeheartedly that it is critical to begin investigating our future with this technology now. Even without the advent of nanotechnology, the formation of groups (and 'metagroups') to help us investigate and plan for the future (or merely cope) would be urgently necessary, as the pace and scope of technological change picks up.
Thank you for sending the reprints on nanotechnology that I
requested. I must admit that while I still have reservations
about the practicality of atomic-scale machinery [i.e.
molecular machinery--editor] I find the concepts most
provocative. Although I am sure you have dealt with the argument
many times before, as a biochemical geneticist I feel impelled to
mention that the somewhat higher organizational level of
supramolecular complexes--such as multienzyme aggregates,
mulifunctional enzymes, ribosomes, RNA splicing complexes, and of
course the bacterial flagellar "motor"--offers certain
advantages. One assumes that there is a reason why enzymes are
large relative to their active centers and a plausible answer is
that they gain thermal stability and the possibility of fine
control over reaction rates and specificity. Nanomachines may
need to be similarly embedded in or mounted on larger, mostly
Rather than emulating the structural rigidity of pre-Twentieth century mechanical engineering, the inherent flexibility of larger molecules could be exploited as they are in enzymes. I suspect that nanomachines will in general not be simple copies of macromachines on a very reduced scale.
Anyway, I'm convincible. The mechanical models are a logical starting point conceptually and will probably play an indispensable role as the actual working parts of nanomachines.
John H. Chalmers
We appreciate receiving copies of articles of interest from: Bill Ammells, Donald J. Fears, W.C. Gaines, Stan and Kiyomi Hutchings, Wallace McClure, John Murray, Billy Shilling, Barry Silverstein, and Daniel Wiener. Thanks also to Tom McKendree for a book recommendation which we plan to cover in the next issue. Ongoing thanks go to Fred Stitt (and his staff including Marty Barrett and Ed Gadsden) of Guidelines and Ed Niehaus of Niehaus Public Relations for their continuing pro bono work on FI publications and press relations, respectively.
FI is in need of the following assistance and equipment:
Let us know if you can help.
From Foresight Update 6, originally published 1 August 1989.
Foresight thanks Dave Kilbridge for converting Update 6 to html for this web page.
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