The First General Conference on Nanotechnology included a workshop organized by the Molecular Manufacturing Shortcut Group (MMSG)
, an interest-based chapter of the National Space Society. MMSG supports the development of molecular manufacturing because it provides a technological pathway to space that could be faster than traditional approaches. The workshop aimed to bring closer, even if only slightly, the eventual development of nanotechnology and its application to space. Led by MMSG president Tom McKendree, the workshop generated considerable interest and enthusiasm, drawing in over a hundred participants as it progressed.
After reviewing options, the participants decided to brainstorm technical ideas that could further molecular nanotechnology. As is the rule in brainstorming, critiquing of the ideas presented was postponed. Soon, many nontechnical suggestions were also proposed.
Forty-nine ideas were documented. One was to use buckytubes as STM tips, or as channels for delivering small molecules to scanning probe sites. Another was to create a “parts catalog” of well-characterized molecules, and put it online in the public domain. A third was to form local nanotechnology study groups.
As the brainstorming began to slow, Mr. McKendree collected the major themes. Repeated suggestions included ideas for improving scanning probe tips, for the creation and distribution of some multimedia software that would educate users about molecular nanotechnology, and for the development of applicable technical databases.
A final flurry of ideas centered around creating a prize to encourage the development of nanotechnology. Marc Arnold generously pledged $5,000 per year for the next five years for the prize, with Ted Kaehler making an additional large pledge.
Working groups were formed from the workshop to start addressing each of these major themes. Roughly half the participants joined one of these working groups. The next day, representatives of each of the groups presented summaries of their efforts to the conference.
One idea from the tip group was to use a static electric field to sharpen a scanning probe tip. Those interested in pursuing this concept should contact Keith Henson (408-978-7616, email: [email protected]
). Those interested in working on a HyperCard shareware stack to educate people about nanotechnology, a video of the conference, or other ways to educate the public about nanotechnology, should contact Jim Lewis (home: 206-524-1213, work: 206-727-3650 [No longer current
], email: [email protected]
. washington.edu [Current email: [email protected]
], address: 7527 40th Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98115). To reach those who decided to work on a nanotechnology-related technical database, contact Bruce Smith (415-499-0292, email: [email protected]
). To donate money or provide other assistance for the nanotechnology prize, contact the Foresight Institute directly.
Those interested in finding out more about MMSG, which facilitated this workshop, should write to MMSG, c/o Tom McKendree, 12171 Amethyst Circle, Garden Grove, CA 92645. To obtain a list of the brainstormed ideas, write to MMSG Secretary, 1101 Robin Road, Blacksburg, VA 24060.