Nanotechnology for the General Reader

To help visualize nanosystems and molecular manufacturing, a computer-generated animated short film called “Productive Nanosystems: from Molecules to Superproducts”. Supported by a NanoRex challenge grant, this is a collaborative project of animator and engineer, John Burch, and pioneer nanotechnologist, Dr. K. Eric Drexler. Many thanks to the donors, who made this challenge grant a success. The film depicts an animated view of a nanofactory and demonstrates key steps in a process that converts simple molecules into a billion-CPU laptop computer. The movie is an 86.1 MB download.

Unbounding the Future provides a clear, nontechnical introduction to advanced nanotechnology, sometimes called molecular manufacturing: what it is about, what it will make possible, and what are the dangers, as well as the opportunities, that will come with the development of nanotechnology. The entire book, with illustrations, is available at this Web site. A book review is available on the Web.

The first chapter of Engines of Creation presents the basic vision of nanotechnology as a fundamental revolution in technology. This is the first and still the classic book on nanotechnology. The entire book is available here.

A brief introduction to the core concepts of molecular nanotechnology is available on Ralph Merkle’s nanotechnology Web site. Briefly and elegantly answers the question “What is nanotechnology?”

Molecular Nanotechnology: the Next Industrial Revolution (2000) Written by Foresight Vice President Christine Peterson, a preprint of an article in the IEEE publication Computer

Nanotechnology: From Concept to R&D Goal (1995) Written by Foresight Vice President Christine Peterson and presented here with the permission of the original publisher HotWired

It’s a small, small, small, small world (1997). Written by Foresight Vice President Ralph Merkle and published in MIT’s Technology Review, provides a general introduction to nanotechnology. The original article is no longer available on the Technology Review Web site, but a longer and somewhat more technical version of the article is available on Ralph Merkle’s nanotechnology Web site.

The Challenge of Nanotechnology is an introductory talk that K. Eric Drexler gave at a conference in 1989, and is available on a Web site that contains the conference proceedings.

Prospects in Nanotechnology presents articles from the First General Conference on Nanotechnology, a conference held by the Foresight Institute to present the wider applications of nanotechnology to an audience primarily of non-researchers.

“Could Tiny Machines Rule The World?”, copyright Parade; New York; Nov 24, 2002, by Michael Crichton. Reprinted in Foresight Update.

“Nanotechnology: from Feynman to the Grand Challenge of Molecular Manufacturing”, by C. Peterson in IEEE Technology and Society, Winter 2004. PDF [2.5 MB]

Our Molecular Future: How Nanotechnology, Robotics, Genetics, and Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Our World, by Douglas Mulhall, Prometheus Books, 2002. Reviewed in Foresight Update.

In a book published in 2005, J. Storrs Hall, winner of the 2006 Foresight Institute Prize in Communication, explains why the nanotechnology applications currently being researched and developed are only the beginning of the things that we can expect from nanotechnology in the next few decades. Nanofuture: What’s Next for Nanotechnology, reviewed in Foresight Update.