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Foresight Update 40

page 5

A publication of the Foresight Institute

Foresight Update 40 - Table of Contents | Page1 | Page2 | Page3 | Page4 | Page5


Web Watch.40

by James Lewis
(with thanks to Gina Miller, Eugene Leitl, and Richard Terra for suggesting URL's)

Jim LewisUnderstanding grows of how tiny kinesin molecular motors work

Scientists have discovered the basic mechanism of how the kinesin family of molecular motors work to separate chromosomes when cells divide and to haul cargo of various types within the cell. University of California, San Francisco press release: and
The senior investigator's laboratory home page:
For background information on kinesin molecular motors:

"Counting up the benefits of nanotechnology"

A press release from Materials World, the members' journal of the Institute of Materials, explores "the nanoscopic world of materials and highlight[s] a range of technologies primed to develop into the billion pound business of the 21st century."

"Vacuum rises to the challenge"

An editorial in Vacuum Solutions, a journal of the Institute of Physics, commemorates the 40th anniversary of Richard Feynman's 1959 lecture "There's Plenty Of Room At The Bottom" by citing several accomplishments of vacuum technology in fabricating and characterizing nanostructures.

Nanotechnology and self-mending clothing

An MSNBC News article on smart clothing includes comments from Institute for Molecular Manufacturing Acting President David Forrest that future clothing will incorporate microscopic machines to constantly repair and clean the clothing.

The University of Glasgow Nanoelectronics Research Centre

"The Nanoelectronics Research Centre provides a focus for diverse research activities within the University of Glasgow linked by a common interest in Nanoelectronics and Nanofabrication." Separate sections on dry etching and plasma processing, electron beam lithography, device modelling and simulation tools, molecular beam epitaxy, analysis and characterisation of materials and nanoelectronic devices, nanostructures research, single electron transport in ultra-small quantum dots, ultrafast systems, bioelectronics and molecular electronics, research in magnetic materials, optoelectronics, and atomic force microscopy probes. Some of these pages are under construction, but many provide substantial amounts of technical information.

Detecting single atoms in large samples

"A new ultrasensitive trace analysis technique - able to detect single atoms in a large sample - has been developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory."

"Quantum mirage" offers hope for nanoelectronics

Ten years after using a STM to position 35 individual xenon atoms to spell out IBM, Don Eigler and his team have developed a method to use the wave nature of electrons to transport information on the atomic scale, at which length conventional wires do not work well to transport electrons. This work builds on earlier work of the team with "quantum corrals," in which the STM is used to position individual cobalt atoms in an ellipse on a copper surface. Eigler is quoted as saying "We have become quantum mechanics -- engineering and exploring the properties of quantum states. We're paving the way for the future nanotechnicians." or More images at

Using a networked PC cluster for computational chemistry

A technical report from the Distributed and High-Performance Computing (DHPC) Group at the University of Adelaide presents a low cost alternative to supercomputers for computational chemistry applications. "Clusters of networked commodity computers [usually using the Linux operating system] provide an alternative computing platform that can offer substantially better price/performance than commercial supercomputers. We have constructed a networked PC cluster, or Beowulf, dedicated to computational chemistry problems using standard ab initio molecular orbital software packages such as Gaussian and GAMESS-US."

Nanotechnology in consumer electronics

The online version of CNET Consumer Electronics featured two brief articles on nanotechnology emphasizing the role that molecular electronics will play in making pervasive, microscopic computing power as common as electric light is today. "Few are betting against the nano nerds at this point, but whether their seedlings blossom within the next few years or the next few decades is anybody's guess." and e.3622-7-1553076.arrow.3622-7-1553077

Foresight Update 40 - Table of Contents


Thanks & Kudos

Special thanks this quarter go to everyone who participated in the 1999 Challenge Grant matching program. We met the challenge and earned the entire $100,000, the most ever obtained by Foresight through a challenge grant.

Additional special thanks to Doug Engelbart for inviting three Foresight/IMM speakers to participate in his class at Stanford on the Unfinished Revolution. IMM Chairman Neil Jacobstein spoke on nanotechnology and our draft safety guidelines; Foresight Director of Communications Tanya Jones spoke on our Crit project; and I spoke on open source. All these are available on the class website. Through this class we've made some great contacts for Web Enhancement, especially Eric Armstrong and Neil Scott.

For the upcoming Group Genius 2000 conference, special thanks go to Matt and Gail Taylor for once again donating major organizational time to plan the event, and to special guests Bill Joy, Marvin Minsky, and Tim O'Reilly for RSVP-ing "yes" so promptly.

Kudos to outgoing Foresight Update graphic designer Marcia Seidler, whose tenure in that position led to major improvements in the look of Update. Editor Richard Terra will take on this challenge now. Marcia continues as conference planner: it was the increase in Foresight events that has pulled her away from the newsletter.

Thanks to Clem Bezold for arranging a Senior Associate dinner in the DC area, starting with a visit to his Institute for Alternative Futures. Similar thanks to Jim Von Ehr and Ralph Merkle of Zyvex, who are hosting a Nanoschmooze and tour at their nanotech R&D facility in Richardson, TX, on March 18. Texans: you should have received email on this; if not, we need your current email address.

Thanks to Virginia Postrel for giving Foresight members a discount to her second "Dynamic Visions" conference, an inspirational experience and great schmoozing opportunity for the three staff members and other Foresight folk who attended.

We don't usually thank the press, but thanks go to Foresight pal Karen O'Leary, who wrote a lovely article on nanotech and Foresight for Gentry magazine. Way to go, Karen!

For sending information, thanks are due to so many members that it's no longer possible to list even a decent fraction here. To give credit for these in future, we are working on some kind of posting system online, probably using software, so members will automatically get credit for their input.

Chris Peterson, President
Foresight Institute

Foresight Update 40 - Table of Contents


Upcoming Events

18th International Meeting of the Molecular Graphics and Modelling Society, April 5-8, 2000 at the University of York, UK. "Modelling Biomolecular Mechanism: From States to Processes at the Atomic Level. The meeting focuses on the study of biomolecular processes including chemical reactions, protein folding, transport & diffusion and energy transduction. The meeting showcases advances in theoretical and computational approaches to studying biomolecular processes as well as powerful single molecule and time-resolved experimental techniques. ... The meeting will provide an important and timely opportunity to review and stimulate discussion across the many disciplines addressing the mechanistic aspects of structure-function relationships in biological processes at the atomic level." Web:

Commercialization of Nanostructured Materials, April 6-7, 2000, Miami Beach, FL USA. "Find out from the key players the current status and potential impact of nanostructured materials in such major industries as automotives, telecommunications and chemical pharmaceuticals." Contact: Customer Service (617) 232-7400; Email:; WebPage:

2nd Annual Carbon Nanotubes: Advances in Cutting Edge Applications & Scalable Production — 10-11 April 2000, Miami Beach, FL USA. "While unprecedented interest in a variety of possible commercial applications has accelerated research and development, a key obstacle to commercialization remains the need for cost-effective, large-scale production methods. " Contact: ph: (617) 232-7400; Email:; WebPage:

Chemistry in Nanotechnology, part of the RSC Annual Conference — 19-20 April 2000, UMIST, Manchester UK. Includes nanoparticles and nanomaterials, structures with function and molecular machines, electronics and devices, poster networking session. Contact Nicole Morgan on 020 7440 3390, or email her at Web: confs/ac2000/acnano.htm

The Fourth Alcor Conference on Life Extension Technologies — 17-18 June 2000, Asilomar Conference Grounds near Carmel, California, just 15 minutes from the Monterey Peninsula Airport. This conference will cover topics relevant to the expansion of human health and longevity, drawing from such fields as: biological and medical technologies, nanotechnology and nanomedicine, artificial intelligence, psychiatric aspects, defining death, and the insights of authors and artists. Foresight Chairman Dr. K. Eric Drexler and Foresight Advisor Dr. Ralph C. Merkle will talk. Web:

NANOSTRUCTURES: Physics and Technology — 19-23 June 2000, St Petersburg, Russia. "The Symposium scope covers wide range of physical phenomena, both basic and applied, and technological aspects related to nanostructures. In 2000, special emphasis will be put on the recent achievements in nanostructure application in designing various semiconductor devices." Web:

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: Shaping Biomedical Research — 25-26 June 2000, Bethesda, Maryland. Sponsored by The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Bioengineering Consortium (BECON). "Join co-chairs Lynn Jelinski from Louisiana State University and Richard Zare of Stanford University in a BECON symposium designed to foster scientific interchange among the nanoscience, nanotechnology, and biomedical research communities. The symposium will include plenary talks, poster sessions, and panels. Panels will provide opportunities for communication to develop and identify future applications of nanoscience and nanotechnology relative to biology and medicine." For information, contact: Mark Brown, CMP MasiMax Resources, Inc. Telephone: 240-632-5618; Fax: 240-632-0519. E-mail: Web:

Fourteenth Symposium of the Protein Society — 5-9 August 2000, San Diego, CA. Includes concurrent symposia on protein design, supramolecular complexes and other topics and workshops on combinatorial biology and selection methods, single molecule methods, and proteomics. Contact The Protein Society Symposium Office, 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814-3998. Tel 301-530-7010, fax 301-530-7014, email: Web:

Foresight Update 40 - Table of Contents | Page1 | Page2 | Page3 | Page4 | Page5

From Foresight Update 40, originally published 31 March 2000.


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