from the putting-things-in-perspective dept.
In the wake of an announcement on 6 July 2001 by researchers in the Netherlands that they had created a nanotube based single-electron transistor, Los Angeles Times science writer Charles Pillar offers this commentary that puts the discovery in context ("Tiny Transistors a Big Leap for Technology", 6 July 2001):
ìNanotechnology is being researched by scientists in many parts of the world. The most optimistic researchers project the creation of super-intelligent, microscopic devices that will push computing into futuristic realms. A multitude of micro devices might solve the toxic waste problem by disassembling poisonous molecules, such as dioxin, into the innocuous atoms that compose them, for example. Other scientists remain skeptical, saying that the absence of enabling technologies–such as wireless communications and power supplies–make such advances unfeasible any time soon.î
Piller concludes: "Skeptics contend that practical applications of nanotechnology are still a long way off. But a rush of incremental nanotech advances–such as the Delft University team's transistor–make it clear that nanotechnology is moving out of the realm of science fiction."