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Dear friends of Foresight,

Historically our Update has mainly featured Nanotech News. Now that so many events and announcements are coming thick and fast, we feel like it’s time to update the update — this issue will focus on new events to bring our readers up-to-date, but the next update will probably look very different. If you came simply for your dose of nanotech, fear not — simply scroll to the end of the newsletter, where our Nanodots highlights eagerly await you.

Foresight Update 29.05—October 13, 2016
ISSN 1078-9731

  • Foresight News & Events Timeline
  • Friends of Foresight
  • Nanotech News
  • Donating to Foresight
  • Continuation Nanodot Posts
  • Foresight News & Events Timeline

    Following-up --> Happening Now --> Looking Ahead


    2016 Breakthrough Technologies for Energy Workshop

    Atomic Precision for Energy Generation, Transmission, and Use Reduction
    May 20-22 2016 in Palo Alto, California. A highly interactive and stimulating 2-1/2 day invitational meeting focused on long-term prospects for revolutionary advances in energy based on improved precision in our control of matter, and how to speed current research in that direction.

    A 5-minute video about the workshop and the 54-page white paper are available here.

    For information about the earlier workshops in this series, see Foresight Institute's 2014 Workshop on Directed/Programmable Matter for Energy and Foresight Institute's 2015 Workshop on Atomic Precision for Medical Applications.

    2016 Artificial Intelligence For Scientific Progress Workshop

    The Artificial Intelligence For Scientific Progress Workshop was Foresight’s second workshop in this year’s series of fast-paced interactive workshops. Invited participants and an excellent selection of accepted applicants met September 30 - October 2, 2016 in Palo Alto, California.

    Artificial Intelligence For Scientific Progress is targeted at generating new insights, new projects, and new funding for the goal of applying advanced computer science to the challenges of atomic precision. Ben Goertzel as well as Feynman Prize Winners were amongst the attendees. The results, video and whitepaper, will go onto the website shortly to be accessed by the public.


    2016 Foresight Feynman Prizes awarded

    The Foresight Feynman Prizes in Nanotechnology were awarded on October 01. The 2016 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Theory was awarded to Prof. Bartosz A. Grzybowski and the Prize for Experiment was awarded to Prof. Franz J. Giessibl. The 2016 Distinguished Student Award was awarded to Conrad Pfeiffer. Congratulations!

    “The Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in nanotechnology is an award that recognizes progress toward the most visionary objectives in nanotechnology,” says Julia Bossmann, President of Foresight Institute. “Our laureates realize that big innovation is possible on the nanoscale. The prize acknowledges these pioneering scientists and inspires others to follow their lead.”

    The Press Release can be found here.

    2007 Feynman Prize Winner wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry

    Congratulations to Sir J. Fraser Stoddart for winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry! As the winner of Foresight's 2007 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, Experimental category, the road is paved for many more great discoveries to come from our community…

    More information on his Prize can be found here.

    Maya Lockwood joins as Director of Engagement

    Maya provides public relations, communications and business development services for organizations who want to increase their visibility and form valuable strategic partnerships. She has worked with venture capital and startup clients, including Richard Branson's 2015 Extreme Tech Challenge as their publicist. Maya's technical background includes 15+ years as an analyst, leading implementation, training and more with Meditech, UCSF Medical Center, and Symantek. She frequently hosts workshops and salons that engage the public in authentic storytelling. She enjoys empowering new ideas, building strong relationships, and developing our collective potential. She will be helping Foresight on all fronts to build community around our mission, with the fellowship and more.

    Foresight Youtube Channel is Live

    Stay up to date on Foresight’s Mission, Workshops, Events and everything else we are up to via:


    Save the Date for Foresight Day November 19th, 2016 in San Francisco, CA

    We are gathering the brightest people in their fields and forward-minded thinkers to inquire which technologies, challenges and visions should we focus on to enable a bright future. Our goal is to engage both the public and industry leaders in important conversations that otherwise may not be had. Please check our website and Facebook page for more information soon.

    You want to suggest a topic for debate or a debater? You want your company to be involved as exhibitor or sponsor? You want to volunteer? Contact our Program Manager at

    If you want to make your voice heard even earlier to shape where we are going, take this 3 minute survey:

    Foresight Fellowship, 2017

    The Foresight Fellowship supports researchers, scientists, inventors and innovators who work on technology whose massive potential is undervalued, who care about improving the state of the world and who have the courage to follow their own path.

    The Foresight Fellowship will launch at beginning of 2017.

    To nominate fellows, mentors or to get involved yourself, fill out the Fellowship form on our website.

    New Foresight Institute Homepage

    Our website is getting a make-over!

    All of the old web pages remain available without a change of URL. The sole exception is that now takes you to the new home page. To access the old home page, click on the large blue “TO THE ARCHIVE” button near the top of the new page. This will take you to the old home page at

    Friends of Foresight

    Book Announcement: The Age of Em

    On June 1, Oxford University Press published Robin Hanson’s new book The Age of Em: Work, Love, and Live when Robots Rule The Earth. Inspired by Drexler’s classic Nanosystems, this book applies many sciences to foresee a future where brain emulations are the first sort of human-like robots. It considers mind speeds, body sizes, wages, career paths, aging, mating, talk, wealth, growth, cities, politics, law, war, death, and more.

    Perhaps this is the time to start exploring and debating different views of what emerging transformative technologies could and should make possible. We invite other Foresight supporters to reach out to have their relevant work featured here.

    Friends of Foresight Event: The Next Billion

    Quartz’s conference on the future of the connected world
    October 13, 2016, 9 AM – 7 PM
    SFJAZZ Center 201 Franklin Street, San Francisco

    The Next Billion is a metaphor for the future of the internet—the exponential growth in connectivity in emerging markets as well as the growth of next-level technology in mature markets.

    This October in San Francisco, Quartz will bring together thought leaders, industry experts, and others members of our community to discuss the expansion of the connected world and what it means for every industry that touches it.

    Friends of Foresight received 40% off the regular ticket price.

    Friends of Foresight Event: Transformative Technology Conference

    TransTech Conference & Expo 2016: Engineering the Future of Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
    October 14 – 16, 2016
    Sofia University, Palo Alto

    Transformative Technologies are science-based hardware and software that can produce reliable and positive changes in the human psychological experience.

    The Transformative Technology Conference is the only conference focused on learning, sharing, and connecting in order to drive serious research and development, commercialization, and awareness of Transformative Technology.

    Friends of Foresight receive 15% off the regular ticket price. Use code CP15 at registration.

    2016 Future Forum & Annual Dinner

    November 3rd, 2016, 5:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.; Radisson Hotel, Santa Maria, California
    2016 Future Forum & Annual Dinner—“The Shape of Things to Come”
    Keynote: Christine Peterson – “Nano, Bio and Artificial Intelligence Tech that will Transform Your Tomorrows”
    Co-Founder, Foresight Institute, Palo Alto
    The Foresight Institute is a leading think tank focused on promoting the beneficial applications of transformative future technologies.

    A thought leader on powerful, coming technologies, Christine Peterson, co-founder and past president of The Foresight Institute, writes, lectures, organizes conferences and briefs the media on nanotech, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and other technologies. An Advisory Board member of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, California’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology, Peterson also serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of NASA’s Nanotech Briefs. She co-authored, among other things, Unbounding The Future: The Nanotechnology Revolution, and her interest/work in new varieties of intellectual property has led to her being credited with creating the term “open source software”.

    Friends of Foresight Event: Envision Conference

    Envision Conference at Princeton University asks you to pioneer a brighter future, today!
    December 02-04, 2016
    Princeton University

    The event invites future engineers, scientists, programmers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and policy makers from top universities around the world to come explore these technologies, understand their implications, and act to safely and positively harness the incredible possibilities presented by them.

    Discuss these news stories on Foresight’s Facebook page.

    Nanotech News

    Editor’s Pick: Favorite Nanodot Post since the last Update

    Peptoid nanosheets assemble by different design rule

    The earliest proposal to “open a path to the fabrication of devices to complex atomic specifications” envisioned designing proteins to fold in predetermined ways. Over the years we have cited here numerous advances along this path … There has also been interest in polymers that are chemical cousins of proteins, for example, the peptoids, in which the side chains are appended to the nitrogen atom in the peptide bond joining the monomers, rather than to the alpha carbon atom, as is the case with proteins. Four years ago we cited a report of initial successes in the rational design of peptoids, speculated that it might be opening a path to advanced nanotechnology, but noted that their successful computer modeling had so far only produced structures composed of nine subunits. Now we can cite further work by a subset of that group reporting a peptoid nanosheet, two molecules thick but extending laterally for micrometers, based on a structural element not seen in the natural world.

    Other Nanodot Posts included:

    Discuss these news stories on Foresight’s Facebook group.

    Donating to Foresight

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    Continuation Nanodot Posts

    Assembling a large, stable, icosahedral protein molecular cage

    It feels like progress in the design and fabrication of atomically precise nanostructures and molecular machines is accelerating along several different paths. …

    Chemical fuel keeps molecular motor moving

    Earlier this year we cited further progress on molecular machines, in this case transporting cargo, from the group of Professor David A Leigh FRS FRSE MAE and winner of the 2007 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology, Theoretical category. Further molecular machine progress was recently reported by Belle Dumé at “Chemically powered nanomotor goes autonomous” …

    Rational improvement of DNA nanodevice function

    We have frequently cited examples of the artificial molecular machines that can be built from DNA. An open question is whether these prototype molecular machines can be improved toward practical applications. For example, can simple machines for manipulating molecules be improved to the point of implementing atomically precise manufacturing? A recent publication provides an example of rational improvement of a simple DNA machine reported three years ago. …

    Atomically precise location of dopants a step toward quantum computers

    A couple months ago we cited the demonstration of a quantum simulator with dopant atoms placed in silicon with atomic precision. The same Australian and New Jersey teams have since further advanced the prospects for tomorrow’s silicon-based quantum computers. A hat tip to Nanowerk for reprinting this University of Melbourne news release “World-first pinpointing of atoms at work for quantum computers”: …

    Watching individual chemical bonds during a reaction

    One path to advanced nanotechnologies begins with using scanning probe microscopes (SPM) to make atomically precise surface modifications—see, for example p. xii of Productive Nanosystems: A Technology Roadmap. The more precisely the SPM tip can image and manipulate atoms on a surface, the more rationally this path can be planned and implemented. Some of the most impressive progress along this path has come from using noncontact-atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM), such as measuring individual chemical bonds using a carbon monoxide-functionalized tip. Now researchers have succeeded in seeing changes in bond configurations as an organic reaction is catalyzed on a surface. …

    Engineered protein assembles molecules into atomically precise lattice

    An important step as nanotechnology develops toward the ultimate goal of general purpose, high-throughput, atomically precise manufacturing is the use of molecules specifically designed to organize other molecules into precise orientations in space. Simple first steps would be to organize repeating lattices of one component to make novel functional materials; more complex further steps would be to precisely organize the multiple components of molecular machine systems. An early step in this process was reported this spring using a specially engineered protein. …

    Another powerful nanoengine remembered

    Last month we posted a report of a powerful new type of nanoengine, able to deliver a force of ~5 nN (nanonewtons). The authors noted, “The resulting nanoscale forces are several orders of magnitude larger than any produced previously.” A couple weeks later Foresight Senior Fellow—Standards David R. Forrest wrote to challenge that comparison …

    —Nanodot posts by James Lewis


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