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Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest: September 28, 2005

In this issue:

Foresight Nanotechnology Challenges

Foresight has articulated six critical challenges that humanity faces which can be addressed by nanotechnology. In the Weekly News Digest we identify news items, research breakthroughs, and events citing current research and applications providing the stepping stones to solutions to these challenges.

1. Meeting global energy needs with clean solutions

Foresight note: Nanotechnology could reduce our individual energy consumption through creating more efficient fuel cells. This article features a video and story about battery advances using—viruses?

Headline: Virus Battery
News source: ScienCentral News

Those portable electronic gadgets that many of us can't do without are getting more and more high tech. But they still run on old-fashioned batteries. As this ScienCentral News video and article reports, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are hoping to change that.

Eventually these tiny microbes may be able to create all sorts of material, from solar cells to paints and even fabrics.

"Right now," said Angela Belcher, material scientist and engineer at MIT, "We're not ruling anything out."

Angela Belcher

2. Providing abundant clean water globally

Foresight note: Come to the Oct. 24-27 conference and hear a panel about nanofiltration and other advances in near-term nanotech for solving one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.

Nanotech for clean water
William Lee, President and CEO, eMembrane
Kevin McGovern, Chairman, McGovern & Associates (for KX Industries)
Fred Tepper, President, Argonide

See conference program for details:

3. Increasing the health and longevity of human life

Foresight note: One of the future promises of nanotechnology as a diagnostic tool is earlier disease detection, such as saving women’s lives by catching cervical cancer early on, as discussed in this article.

Headline: Nanocrystals Light Up Early Cervical Cancer
News source: NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer

Each year, some 10,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and over 35 percent will die because their cancer was detected too late for treatment to be successful. Easier methods of routinely screening women for precancerous lesions could significantly tilt the odds in favor of survival. Now, work published in the journal Gynecologic Oncology, suggests that quantum dots, imaged using a fiber optic scope, could provide just such a method for early detection of cervical cancer.


4. Maximizing the productivity of agriculture

Foresight note: The initial application of this research will be in the food industry and other moist manufacturing.

Headline: "Keep Cool to Reduce Friction," Suggests a New Study of Nanoscale Water Condensation
News source: Physorg.com

When surfaces touch in a humid environment, moisture forms water bridges, or capillaries, between them. On familiar size scales, this process — known as nucleation — helps hold sand castles and wet concrete together, and is critical to the formation of clouds. But sometimes these structures can be less helpful, causing friction sufficient to slow or even stop nanoscale machinery — or in food processing, creating large clusters of sugar, salt, baby cereals or coffee.


5. Making powerful information technology available everywhere

Foresight note: According to the researchers, this "nano-walker" will advance a molecular computing concept initially proposed by IBM.

Headline: Scientists Design Molecule that Can Move in a Straight Line on a Flat Surface
News source: University of California, Riverside

A research team, led by University of California, Riverside’s Ludwig Bartels, is the first to design a molecule that can move in a straight line on a flat surface. It achieves this by closely mimicking a human walking. The "nano- walker" offers a new approach for storing large amounts of information on a tiny chip and demonstrates that concepts from the world we live in can be duplicated at the nanometer scale — the scale of atoms and molecules.

The molecule — 9,10-dithioanthracene or "DTA" — has two linkers that act as feet.

Bartels explained that, ordinarily, molecules move in every unpredictable direction when supplied with thermal energy. "DTA only moves along one line, however, and retains this property even if pushed or pulled aside with a fine probe." Bartels said. "This offers an easy realization of a concept for molecular computing proposed by IBM in the 1990s, in which every number is encoded by the position of molecules along a line similar to an abacus, but about 10 million times smaller. IBM abandoned this concept, partly because there was no way to manufacture the bars of the abacus at molecule-sized spacing."


6. Enabling the development of space

Foresight note: Come to our Oct. 24-27 conference and hear how nanotech will finally make space development affordable — even the controversial Space Elevator.

Presentation: State-of-the-Art Nanotechnology for Space: Near-Term and Long-Term
Scott Hubbard, Director, NASA Ames Research Center

Presentation: Enabling the Development of Space — From Carbon Nanotubes to the Space Elevator
Michael Laine, President, Liftport Group

See conference program for presentation details:

Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology

Focusing on the Cutting Edge
13th Foresight Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology

October 22-27, 2005
San Francisco Airport Marriott Hotel

Full meeting: http://foresight.org/conference2005/index.html
Research sessions only: http://foresight.org/conference2005/research.html
Vision Weekend only: http://foresight.org/conference2005/vision_weekend.html

Insightful Speakers

This conference features speakers from government, leading universities, venture capital firms, environmental groups and nanotech businesses that will address the challenges, future capabilities and concerns of nanotechnology.

Come hear the latest advances by speakers from:

U.S. State Department
AIST (Japan)
Rainforest Action Network
U.S. Navy
President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
Electric Power Research Institute
Rainforest Action Network
Lockheed Martin
The Cadmus Group
NASA Ames Research Center
Kleiner Perkins
Harris & Harris
Draper Fisher Jurvetson
ThinkEquity Partners
University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics
UC Berkeley
University of Toronto
Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel)
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Georgia Tech
Carnegie Mellon

Link to program:

Illuminating Panels

How can we overcome the "Valley of Death?"
Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
Floyd Kvamme, Partner, Kleiner Perkins
Michael Moe, Chairman & CEO, ThinkEquity Partners
Ray Rothrock, Managing General Partner, Venrock Associates

Public Equity Roundtable
Michael Weiner, CEO, Biophan Technologies, Inc.
Andrew Wahl, Managing Director, IG Partners
Bob Hambrecht, Managing Director—Corporate Finance, WR Hambrecht + Co

Nanotech for clean energy
Clark Gellings, VP Innovation, Electric Power Research Institute
Malcom O’Neil, VP and CTO, Lockheed Martin
Michael Pak, President and CEO, Nanostellar
BJ Stanbery, CEO, HelioVolt

Nanotech for clean water
William Lee, President and CEO, eMembrane
Kevin McGovern, Chairman, McGovern & Associates (for KX Industries)
Fred Tepper, Presidenet, Argonide

Nanotech for Food Production and Reducing the Environmental "Footprint" of Agriculture
Norman Scott, Dept. of Biological & Environmental Engineering, Cornell University
Peter Singer, Director, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics
Aaron Wanger, Director of Research and Development, NaturalNano

Intellectual Property in Nanotechnology
Mark Lemley, Stanford Law School
Jerry Swiss, Partner, Foley & Lardner
Christine Peterson, VP Public Policy, Foresight Nanotech Institute

Link to program:

Impassioned Debates

NanoBio in Humans: Are we ready to cross the Carbon Barrier?
Ron Bailey, Science Correspondent, Reason Magazine
Alan Goldstein, Biomedical Materials Engineering, Alfred University

Nanotechnology: Revolutionary or Questionable?
Jerry Mander, Director, International Forum on Globalization
Ralph Merkle, Dept. of Computer Science, Georgia Tech

Link to program:

Who Attends

Foresight is the nexus point for scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, investors, and others involved in nanotech to come together. Our annual conference offers an outstanding cross-section of the nanotechnology field and beyond:

To Register for the Conference

Foresight offers an a la carte option, so you may choose to attend the entire conference, or only the sections that most interest you.

For registration options:

Hotel Reservations – Group Rate deadline is October 7th

Now is the time to make your hotel reservations as the group rate cut-off deadline of October 7, 2005.

San Francisco Airport Marriott
1800 Old Bayshore Highway
Burlingame, CA 94010, USA
Group Rate: Rate of $129.00 plus tax—single or double occupancy.

Reserve your hotel room early.
To reserve: call SF Airport Marriott at 1 800-228-9290 in the US and Canada or + 1 650-692-9100, or go to http://www.marriott.com and use group code: forfora.

The hotel is centrally located on the San Francisco Bay, just 1-mile south of the San Francisco International Airport, 15 minutes from downtown San Francisco, and 20 minutes to Silicon Valley.

Airport To Hotel Transportation

Complimentary Hotel Airport Shuttle is available 24 hours a day to and from San Francisco International Airport.

Hurricane Special

For those who have been impacted by Hurricane Katrina: We will hold the early-registration rate for you. Please contact Elaine@foresight.org for consideration.

Vision Weekend – Exclusive and Enlightening

October 22-23, 2005, Saturday and Sunday
San Francisco Airport Marriott Hotel

We have an exceptional line-up of speakers and, of course, there is the enjoyment of being with like-minded individuals who are interested in nanotechnology, the future, and what that future might look like. This is a rare opportunity to hear speakers discuss the future of nanotechnology candidly and off-the-record.

The Vision weekend begins on Saturday, October 22, 2005 at 1 p.m. with schmoozing and not-to-be-missed speakers. Join us for the Welcome Reception that evening at 7 p.m. where you will find stimulating, smart, and lively discussion over outstanding food and drinks. This is a place to meet new Foresight friends and connect with old ones.

On Sunday, October 23, 2005 the stellar sessions continue throughout the day, including the ever-popular breakout discussions.

Vision Weekend only:

The Vision Weekend is exclusive to Foresight Participating members.

Foresight Participating Members Discounts

Foresight Nanotech Institute's Participating Members receive deep discounts to the Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology conference.

If you are attending 3-1/2 days of the conference, the registration fee is $795. If you become a Participating Member, your price is $695, and you receive additional membership benefits, including the opportunity to attend the invitation-only Vision Weekend.

For a complete list of Participating Member benefits:

Participating Members can join online:

Foresight Lectures

Perils and Promises of Nanotechnology
October 11, 2005
Organized by Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley
San Jose, CA

Christine Peterson, Founder & V.P., Foresight Nanotech Institute
Dr. John M. Balbus, Senior Scientist, Program Director, Environmental Defense
Norm Wu, Managing Director, Alameda Capital

Moderated by: Anthony Waitz, Managing Partner, Quantum Insight and Co-founder, MIT Stanford Berkeley Nano Forum

Nanotechnology is a complex field which has great potential to deliver environmental as well as other benefits. At the same time, these same novel properties may pose new risks to workers, consumers, the public and the environment. This panel of experts will explore the possible risks and clarify the difference between near-term commercial advances and the "next industrial revolution" expected to arrive in the next few decades.

Foresight Partners

If you attend or use any of our partners' events or services, please tell them you heard about it from Foresight Nanotech Institute.

Book – The Singularity is Near – When Humans Transcend Biology
To be released on September 26, 2005

World renowned inventor and futurist, Ray Kurzweil, envisions in his latest book, The Singularity is Near – When Humans Transcend Biology, the "singularity" in which technological change becomes so rapid and so profound that our bodies and brains will merge with our machines. He portrays what life will be like after this event and what this means in practical terms – human aging and pollution will be reversed; world hunger will be solved; our bodies and environment transformed by nanotechnology to overcome the limitations of biology, including death; and virtually any physical product can be created from information-based processes. The Singularity Is Near also considers the social and philosophical ramifications of these changes.

November 14-16, 2005 – AccelrysWorld
Sponsored by Accelrys
London, United Kingdom

AccelrysWorld, the year’s major event for Accelrys users, will come to Europe in late 2005. The event is the venue for users to find out about the latest solutions from Accelrys and its partners, hear case study presentations, give feedback and learn from other users in round-table discussions, and network with their peers.

Nanotech Events & News

Headline: Top science academy to build 10 innovation bases
News Source: China View website

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) announced here Wednesday that it is going to build 10 interdisciplinary research bases to promote scientific innovation. The CAS also set up an advisory and review committee for the ambitious plan, which will require several billion yuan in investment.

The 10 bases will research information technology, space technology, advanced energy technology, nanotechnology and other new materials, life sciences, advanced bioengineering, advanced agriculture, ecological and environmental technology, resources and marine biology.

November 17-18, 2005 – Applications of Nanobiology to Biodefense:
Diagnostics, Detection, Therapeutics, and Biodefense Immunology

Rockville, Maryland

Editor’s Pick

Dear readers — When reviewing news for this digest, I often read about something that I think is cool, but it doesn’t fit within the usual editorial categories of the News Digest. This section highlights a nanotech advance that I think is especially cool.


This article ran in the Dallas Business Journal celebrating Zyvex receiving the publication's Emerging Company Horizon Award. The article discusses Zyvex's very preliminary work towards a handheld scanning electron microscope.

Headline: Zyvex Corporation is building its success atom by atom
Dallas Business Journal by Jeff Bounds

"Tom Cellucci, who joined the business in July 2002 to help the company commercialize an sells its wares, says the net frontier is making very small machines with working parts, such as components, devices, systems or subsystems.

"For instance, Zyvex has started preliminary work with an Oregon company that wants to make a scanning electron microscope that could fit in the palm of your hand."

(subscription may be required)

Hope to see you at the conference! If you haven’t already, you should really take a look at the program. It is quite comprehensive and all who attend will come away inspired.

Also, don't forget to visit our blog Nanodot and join the discussion led by Christine Peterson.

About The Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest

The Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest is emailed every week to 15,000 individuals in more than 125 countries. Foresight Nanotech Institute is a member-supported organization. We offer membership levels appropriate to meet the needs and interests of individuals and companies. To find out more about membership follow this link:

Judy Conner, Director of Communications at Foresight Nanotech Institute, is the editor of the Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest. If you would like to submit a news item or contact her with comments about the news digest, please send an email to: editor@foresight.org.

Foresight Nanotech Institute is located in Menlo Labs in the Menlo Business Park, in Menlo Park, California. Our space is a generous donation from Tarlton Properties. If you are seeking space for your nanotechnology or biotechnology company, please contact them at http://www.tarlton.com.

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