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Matched donations, save the date, Chemistry Nobel recognizes molecular machines

Dear friends of Foresight,

Happy Giving Tuesday! In addition to updates on our activities, we’re happy to announce a matching grant that allows us to double your donation between now and the end of the year. Your gift to Foresight can move the world in the right direction—towards technological abundance and freedom. We’re actively working on supporting breakthrough science to make our visions of a better world a reality.

Foresight Update 29.06—November 29, 2016, ISSN 1078-9731

Happening now
  · Happy Giving Tuesday! We’re matching your donation

Looking ahead
  · Save the Date: Holiday Gathering for Foresight Members
  · Foresight Fellowship
  · Julia Bossmann to speak at Princeton’s Envision Conference

  · Christine Peterson’s talk at the 2016 Future Forum & Annual Dinner
  · The Great Debates of our Times
  · Julia Bossmann appointed as Global Future Council

Friends of Foresight
  · Of Several Worlds: A Post-Nanotechnology Adventure. Steve kindly declared that the books proceeds will be donated to Foresight Institute. To buy the book visit:
  · Atomic Forge

Nanotech News
  · Nobel Prize in Chemistry recognizes molecular machines

Happening now

Happy Giving Tuesday! We’re matching your donation

We depend on outstanding individuals like you! You allow us to spark innovation by bringing together scientists, innovators and the public for our technical workshops, public events, fellowship and more. We continue being a non-partisan group for future technologies.

Between today and December 31st, your donation to Foresight Institute will be doubled by our matching grant.

There are many good reasons to give to Foresight. For the top 5 reasons, please see this article. In summary, we

  1. Advocate for the long-run
  2. Value current results
  3. Adapt to current needs
  4. Stay true to our mission
  5. Engage the public

Not only is your donation tax-deductible, it also counts towards membership! That means, if you give more than $5,000, you will automatically become a Patron for 12 months.
Click here to find out the perks of a Patron membership.


You want to do three times more good? This is how:

  1. Donate: To make a donation, please click here!
  2. Double: This year we are grateful again to our private donor for doubling every donation that is made by you to Foresight!
  3. Triple: Did you know that many companies match donations made to Foresight? If your company does, please fill out the corporate matching form on your company’s website after donating to double the impact you have! If your company doesn’t yet have Foresight on it’s list, we would be very grateful if you could propose that we are added!

Looking ahead

Save the Date: Holiday Gathering for Foresight Members

Welcome to everyone who recently joined our community as a member, we are growing fast!
On December 14 we will be holding our 2016 Holiday Gathering for Foresight Members. Please save the date, more details will follow shortly! Foresight Members are invited into a community of like minded people to uphold our values to responsibly steer technology for the good of humanity and the biosphere. As a member you are invited to future events like the December 14 Holiday Gathering and our 2017 Vision Weekend. To become a member please visit our membership page.

Foresight Fellowship

We are launching the Foresight Fellowship in 2017 to support people who are at the beginning of their journeys and give their bold ideas the support and mentorship they need. Since 1993 Foresight Institute has been rewarding those who are making strides in the field of Nanotechnology with the Feynman Prize. In 2016, one of our former Feynman Prize winners, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work with molecular machines. Foresight Institute recognizes that providing a strong network and knowledge base for new fellows to access will accelerate their missions and reflect our goals to further support those making important strides in a variety of fields.
To nominate someone for the Foresight Fellowship please fill out this form.

Julia Bossmann to speak at Princeton’s Envision Conference

From December 2 to December 4 Julia Bossmann will speak at Princeton’s envision Conference. Her focus will be on how to get people thinking holistically about the vast possibilities and dangers of our future as a result of breakthrough technologies, and inspire them to work on realizing those possibilities and mitigating those dangers. The event can be found here.


Christine Peterson’s talk at the 2016 Future Forum & Annual Dinner

“Nano, Bio and Artificial Intelligence: Tech that will Transform Your Tomorrows” was the theme of Foresight co-founder Christine Peterson’s keynote at the Future Forum in Santa Maria, California on November 3rd. She covered both what’s happening today in nanotech and what to expect from nano in the future, along with some concerns about technological unemployment now arriving from increased automation and AI.
The talk can be accessed in our Foresight Lectures Library.

The Great Debates of our Times

Thank you to everyone who attended our The Great Debates: Controversies in Technology & Our Future on November 19 — and special thanks to the speakers and members for joining us for a special dinner afterward!

Photos can be accessed on the event fb page.

For a quick overview of the event, see Alton Sun’s notes.

Julia Bossmann appointed as Global Future Council

The World Economic Forum’s Network of Global Future Councils is the world’s foremost interdisciplinary knowledge network dedicated to promoting innovative thinking on the future. The network convenes the most relevant and knowledgeable thought leaders from academia, government, business and civil society to challenge conventional thinking and develop new insights and perspectives on the key global systems, as well as the impact and governance of key emerging technologies. In a global environment marked by short-term orientation and siloed thinking, the network fosters interdisciplinary and long-range thinking to support a sustainable and equitable future. Members of the network meet annually at the Annual Meeting for the Global Future Councils in the United Arab Emirates, and virtually several times a year to monitor trends, identify global risks, discuss ideas and explore interconnections between issues. They also develop recommendations and integrate their findings into World Economic Forum activities such as the Annual Meeting in Davos and regional and industry events, as well as into global decision-making processes.

Friends of Foresight

Of Several Worlds: A Post-Nanotechnology Adventure

Written by long-time Foresight member, Steve Vetter, this book explores themes common to Foresight discussions, including artificial intelligence, molecular manufacturing, living on other worlds, downloading, and virtual reality. It takes place a few decades in the future when all of these developments have taken place.

A couple hundred people have established a colony on another planet, but soon disaster hits, driving a group of adventurous teenagers to go out and explore the planet and it’s native life forms. In parallel, the colony struggles for survival. Throughout the book are clues to various mysteries, which are uncovered near the end. The book explores a couple of ways that molecular manufacturing could influence how society develops, and the strengths and weaknesses of each, including over-dependance on it’s tremendous capabilities.

Steve kindly declared that the books proceeds will be donated to Foresight Institute. To buy the book visit:

Atomic Forge

Sergei Kalinin and team recently proposed to create atomic forge — using electron beams for atomic assemebly, akin to atomically resolved 3D printing. Their Nature article can be found here:

Nanotech News

Nobel Prize in Chemistry recognizes molecular machines

The 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three scientists who “developed the world’s smallest machines”. From the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences “Press Release: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 to

  • Jean-Pierre Sauvage, University of Strasbourg, France
  • Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA, and
  • Bernard L. Feringa, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

“for the design and synthesis of molecular machines” … A tiny lift, artificial muscles and minuscule motors. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 is awarded to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa for their design and production of molecular machines. They have developed molecules with controllable movements, which can perform a task when energy is added.

The development of computing demonstrates how the miniaturisation of technology can lead to a revolution. The 2016 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have miniaturised machines and taken chemistry to a new dimension.

The award of this chemistry Nobel demonstrates that the scientific establishment is moving toward the vision of constructing atomically-precise products through the use of systems of molecular machines. This vision was first elucidated by Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman, who proposed in 1959 that “The problems of chemistry and biology can be greatly helped if our ability to see what we are doing, and to do things on an atomic level, is ultimately developed — a development which I think cannot be avoided.” The Foresight Institute was founded in 1986 on a vision of the emerging field of nanotechnology in which current capabilities in several areas of science and technology lead eventually to fabrication of complex products with atom-by-atom control of the manufacturing process. This vision was inspired by analogy with the biological molecular machines that form the basis of life, with the added insight that biology points “to the development of general capabilities for molecular manipulation”, initially termed molecular engineering.

Although Foresight’s initial focus on molecular engineering paths to molecular nanotechnology was on protein engineering, it was soon (1987) realized that relatively simple organic molecules could perform functions like those of natural proteins. A few years after he began working on rotaxanes—work recognized by the Nobel this year—J. Fraser Stoddart, then at the University of Birmingham, spoke in 1995 at the Fourth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology on “The Art and Science of Self-Assembling Molecular Machines”. Eight years later Stoddart, then at the California NanoSystems Institute/Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, was a keynote speaker at the 11th Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology, speaking on “Meccano on the NanoScale: A Blueprint for Making Some of the World’s Tiniest Machines”.

In 2007, Sir Fraser, by then at Northwestern University, was recognized by the award of Foresight’s 2007 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology in the Experiment category for pioneering “the synthesis and assembly of unique active molecular machines for manufacturing into practical nanoscale devices. His many accomplishments in synthetic chemistry have produced functional molecular machines, in particular a ‘molecular muscle’ for the purposes of amplifying and harnessing molecular mechanical motions, that may ultimately lead to the construction of atomically-precise products through the use of molecular machine systems.”

Discuss these news stories on Foresight’s Facebook group.

—Nanodot post by James Lewis

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