The Foresight Institute receives hundreds of letters requesting information
and sending ideas. Herewith some excerpts:
One of the things that would be most helpful to me right now is a micro-hypertext
system that could be used for organizing my personal and professional work.
If you're going to be developing hypertext, why not plan from the beginning
for a PC version to which it could interface but which could be marketed
Marquette University An interesting question for proponents
of nanotechnology: The prototype products could well cost trillions in research
and development. Producers are faced with bringing very expensive products
to market, while new competitors, privy to many of the same memes, could
bring very similar products to market literally dirt cheap. Where is the
incentive for pioneering efforts?
Robert J. Hurt
Denver, CO I am interested in doing molecular graphics on
my own computer. However, it's not a Macintosh, but rather an IBM-PC XT
clone. Do you know of any (reasonably priced) molecular graphics programs
for IBM compatibles? I've been working on writing my own, but I'm a better
programmer than chemist.
I believe that the time is ripe for a low end molecular CAD [computer-aided
design] program. The hardware is adequate, if you don't require real time
animation. The interest is there. It would really aid this field if a standard
data format could be established, to avoid the incompatibilities found between
rival mechanical CAD programs. The more people we can get hacking away at
new molecular devices, and the better they can communicate, the sooner we
will get assembler technology. I would just as soon have the breakthrough
made by private industry or individuals [rather than governments].
Brett P. Bellmore
Computer modeling of molecules, and eventually of molecular machines,
is a key part of the path to nanotechnology. Jerry Fass has brought to our
attention a shareware program called MoleculeM for building
and displaying 3D models of molecular structures. It is said to have built-in
bonding and ionization rules and full rotation abilities. The companion
program Chemview is said to make animated 3D rotation
models with each atom a different color. For a free catalog call Public
Brand Software at 800-426-3475.
However, much more sophisticated programs will be required to do the
modeling we need. There's a commercial opportunity here.--Editor
A computer graphics researcher at the Research Institute of Scripps Clinic
(Department of Molecular Biology) would like to collaborate with others
sharing his interest in computer-aided design tools leading toward nanotechnology.
Interested readers with skills useful to such a project should send a letter
to FI for forwarding to Scripps.
Biostasis research at the Alcor Life Extension
Foundation has been disrupted by a grandstanding local official who,
presumably in an effort to generate media coverage to help his re-election,
has been harassing Alcor. This intimidation has ranged from confiscation
of equipment and records to threats of criminal charges. To our knowledge
Alcor has done nothing to merit this treatment, but this fact doesn't lessen
the legal bills they are accumulating as a result of defending against these
Those who are interested in ensuring the continuation of state-of-the-art
biostasis research and services should send their contributions to Alcor
Life Extension Foundation, 12327 Doherty St., Riverside, CA 92503, phone
See their Web page for current contact
information for Alcor Life Extension Foundation.
Many libraries do not have Engines
of Creation indexed under the subject "nanotechnology."
Readers are asked to check their favorite libraries, especially those at
universities, and if necessary ask the librarian to correct this omission.
Coverage of nanotechnology in the media continues with articles appearing
recently or expected soon in: InfoWorld (in George Morrow's
column), the Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter, the magazine-style
insert USA Weekend carried in various Sunday papers nationwide,
and a piece in LA Weekly by M.J. Wilcove. Interest has also
been expressed by two British TV networks, the BBC and Channel 4. Readers
spotting coverage of nanotechnology in the paper media are asked to forward
us a copy; please don't assume we've seen it! We'd appreciate hearing of
coverage in other media as well.--Editor
Many of today's researchers were first confirmed in their vocation when
they participated in an NSF-sponsored summer program for high school students.
Now a guide to these programs is available: the 1988 Directory of
Student Science Training Programs for High Ability Precollege Students.
The Directory lists institutions in the U.S. that will be conducting student
science training programs in the academic year 1988-89.
The 507 programs listed are of three general types: courses, research, and
combinations of courses and research. Residential and commuter programs
are offered; some charge for participaion, some do not. Scholarships are
often available. Programs are provided in science, engineering, and mathematics.
For each copy send a $1 check made out to "Science Service Directory"
to 1988 SSTP Directory, 1719 N St., NW, Washington, DC 20036. Domestic orders
only accepted; those outside the US should send $4 to the Foresight Institute
and we will order a copy and send it to you by airmail.
As usual there are too many people who deserve thanks for all to be listed
here, but the following is a representative group: Michael Whitelock, John
Alden, and Ray Alden for budget help; Gayle Pergamit, Brian Quig, and Dennis
Gentry for help in our Executive Director search; Jeff Soreff for technical
work; Marvin Minsky for encouragement; Gerald Feinberg for talking to the
press; Stewart Brand and Nils Nilsson for spreading the word; Blair Newman
for making valuable contacts; Ed Niehaus for marketing advice; James Dinkelacker
for strategic advice; Steve Hyde for setting up the Colorado Springs talk;
Jerry Fass (and many others) for sending information; Pat Wagner and Leif
Smith for book recommendations.
Kantrowitz has joined Gerald Feinberg, Stewart Brand, and Marvin Minsky
on FI's Board of Advisors.
Now a professor of engineering at Dartmouth, Dr. Kantrowitz is the founder
and former CEO of the Avco Everett Research Laboratory. His technical interests
have ranged from space transportation to power generation to artificial
hearts, but FI readers may know him better as the originator of the Science
Adversary Procedure, popularly known as the Science Court. Dr. Kantrowitz
is also active in the space development movement and served for years as
Chairman of the L5 Society.
We plan in future issues to give profiles of all four Advisors.
FI's standard arrangement with our writers is as follows: we copyright the
material and may use it in the future, including in other forms such as
recordings, videos, and electronic publications. The writer also is welcome
to use the material; we ask that the credits indicate where it was first
published. Writers desiring different arrangements can be accommodated;
please consult the editor. We urge those who write for commercial publications
to retain electronic publishing rights for your own use on future hypertext
For those with access to computers on the USENET, there is now a Netnews
group, sci.nanotech, for the discussion of nanotechnology. (The USENET newsgroups
form a large, distributed, hierarchical electronic bulletin board.) If your
site receives some Netnews groups but not sci.nanotech, tell your system
administrator that it is a "moderated, technical, low-volume"
group. The moderator is J. Storrs
Hall (rutgers!klaatu.rutgers.edu!josh or email@example.com), who
can answer specific questions about the group by electronic mail.