US News: why nanotech can't be stopped

from the driven-researcher dept.
Author RobertGrudin recommends this news article in US News & World Report. It includes a clear explanation of why researchers won't stop developing nanotech: "We are compelled to keep going. It is just so cool," says Paul Alivisatos, professor of chemistry at the University of California-Berkeley. "We are knocking on the door of creating new living things, new hybrids of robotics and biology. Some may be pretty scary, but we have to keep going." Read More for additional highlights. "Future phenomena

Where will it all end? Many futurists have speculated that nanotech will fundamentally change the human condition over the next generation. Swarms of programmable particles, sometimes referred to as "utility fog," will assemble themselves on command. The result could be a bottle of young wine molecularly engineered to taste as if it had aged for decades, or a faithful biomechanical dog with an on/off switch.

Meanwhile, new, superstrong, lightweight nanomaterials could make space travel cheap and easy and maybe even worth the bother, if, as some authors predict, nanotech can be used to create an Earth-like atmosphere on Mars. And space colonization could well be necessary if the new science of "nanomedicine" extends life indefinitely, manufacturing new cells, molecule by molecule, whenever old cells wear out. It all seems hard to imagine; yet nanotech has already produced enough small wonders to make such big ideas seem plausible, if not alarming–at least to the high priests of science."

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