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More recently, in December of 1995, Prof. Smalley gave a talk (Nanotechnology and the Next 50 Years) in which he concluded:"The idea behind nanotechnology is ultimately, and maybe sometime very soon, to custom design the materials around us atom by atom, much like an architect designs a building. Except now the building materials will be atoms rather than bricks or steel beams."
"If you think about this business of building objects that exist and function on a nanometer scale where every atom is in a particular place to serve a function, then all the machinery in each of our cells basically is that -- everything in nature, we ourselves."
"We tend to bandy the term nanotechnology about more than nanoscience or nanoengineering primarily because in one word nanotechnology comprises both the fundamental intellectual aspect of this new field and the fact that it is relevant to society."
"The blunt, simple answer is that nanotechnology is where the action will be. We must have that reflected in the undergraduate curriculum. After all, the students come here not just to learn about what's in books but to know what's going to happen in the real world and to be preparing themselves to think along these lines.
It's important to pick problems that are going to lead some place, that are going to have impact. Since science is such an expensive operation these days, it cannot be funded simply as an exercise of artistic enjoyment. It is funded at a high level because it is important to solving the practical needs of society, So from the very word nanotechnology you can see how it tries to connect to society as a whole. As the research that goes on in the university becomes more relevant in society it should be reflected in the curriculum. Why should we be teaching students to become scientists and engineers in the old technology? They should be part of the future."
"We've got to learn how to build machines, materials, and devices with the ultimate finesse that life has always used: atom by atom, on the same nanometer scale as the machinery in living cells. But now we've got to learn how to extend this now to the dry world. We need to develop nanotechnology both on the wet and dry sides. We need it urgently to get through these next 50 years. It will be a challenge. But, I am confident we will succeed."
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