Books are listed in order of specialization and level of reading challenge.
Your suggestions are welcome. And remember, if a book's price looks too
high, your library should be able to get it through interlibrary loans.--Editor
In Pursuit, by Charles Murray, Simon and Schuster, 1988,
cloth, $19.95. Looks at the question of what constitutes human happiness,
an increasingly important issue as our technological capabilities increase.
Raises policy questions which are disturbing regardless of the reader's
Technology and War, by Martin Van Creveld, Free Press
(Macmillan), 1989, cloth, $22.95. Those who don't know history are apt to
repeat more of its mistakes than is perhaps entirely necessary. This book
is a historical analysis of the relationship between technology and warfare
over the past 4000 years. It will give those concerned about military applications
of technology a better basis for working on the problem. Nontechnical.
Principles of Colloid and Surface Chemistry, by Paul
C. Hiemenz, Marcel Dekker, 2nd edition, 1986, cloth, $39.75. The properties
of surfaces and particles of nanometer to micrometer scale (colloids) are
critical to nanotechnology's enabling technologies, such as design of proteins
and the self-assembling molecular systems. They will continue to be important
to the understanding and design of advanced nanomechanisms. Highly technical.
Nanotechnology continues to receive considerable coverage in the media.
Perhaps the most exciting media development since the last issue is the
funding and taping of a one-hour British television documentary on nanotechnology.
The work is being produced and directed by David Kennard and Karl Sabbagh
(who between them have similar credits in Connections, The
Ascent of Man, Cosmos, and The Body in Question)
and is scheduled to be shown on Britain's Channel 4 as part of the Equinox
series early this fall. It may air as a Nova show in the U.S. later; we
will attempt to notify you in advance.
"The Mike Malone Show," a public television program on technology
originating in Silicon Valley, interviewed Gordon Bell and Eric Drexler
on topics including nanocomputers and nanotechnology. This was shown in
various U.S. cities.
Both Discover and Popular Science ran articles
in March on micromachines which included discussion of nanotechnology. Byte
covered nanotechnology in May and The Stanford Daily did so
in a March 15 article. Two newsmagazines, Time and L'Espresso
(Italy) have conducted interviews, publication date unknown as yet. Other
publications also have articles pending: American Scientist,
Longevity, and PC Computing. Watch for a brief
mention in the Wall Street Journal, and in Germany keep an
eye on PM Magazin. We have just been interviewed by the San
Francisco Examiner and the LA Weekly.
John Murray recently sent us a nanotechnology article from the British magazine
Spaceflight dated March 1988 which we had missed; please keep
sending in these articles, especially from outside the U.S.
FI continues to provide guests for radio interview shows; these are usually
handled by Eric Drexler, Jim Bennett, Ralph Merkle, and Chris Peterson.
In February an unusual regional weekend meeting of about 80 attendees was
held by the Seattle Nanotechnology Study Group. Speakers were drawn from
two categories: (1) scientists/technologists from academia included Gregory
Benford (U. Calif.), John
Cramer (U. Wash.), Eric Drexler
(Stanford), Bruce Robinson (U. Wash.), Nadrian
Seeman (NYU); and from industry G. Louis Roberts (Boeing), Marc Stiegler
(Xanadu), Mike Thomas (Boeing). (2) Science fiction writers including Greg
Bear, as well as Dr. Benford and Dr. Cramer listed above. The event
was mostly nontechnical. A transcribed version of the proceedings is available
for $15 from Nanocon, Box 40176, Bellevue, WA. (Washington residents please
add 7.6% sales tax.) Webmaster's Note: The printed version of the
proceedings is no longer available, but the entire proceedings has been
placed on the WWW: http://www.halcyon.com/nanojbl/NanoConProc/nanocon1.html
Note also that Nadrian Seeman subsequently was awarded
the 1995 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for the line of research he
presented at this conference. Two nanotechnology talks were given this spring at Hewlett-Packard:
one to the Board of Directors on (March 16) and a more general technical
talk (March 30). Other nanotechnology lectures included: Xerox PARC (March
10), the pharmaceutical company Syntex (March 22), the Austin computer consortium
MCC (April 11), the Human Genome Conference (April 24), Argonne National
Laboratory (April 26), Union Carbide Corporate Fellows (May 4), a retreat
meeting of the Stanford Center for Integrated Systems (May 22), and a Stanford
Medical Center Immunology Seminar (June 14).
A nanotechnology policy-oriented retreat meeting organized by Chip
Morningstar was held in the Sierra south of Lake Tahoe over a June weekend;
we hope to include a description of the event in our next issue.
The First Foresight Conference
on Nanotechnology, to be held this fall, will be an invitational meeting
of scientists and technologists working in fields leading to nanotechnology.
It is sponsored by the Foresight Institute and Global Business Network,
and is hosted by the Stanford University Department of Computer Science.
The meeting will be limited to about 150 attendees.
The conference will enable researchers to review achievements on the frontiers
of molecular and microscale systems and to explore their potential interconnections.
Attendees will also briefly examine and critique possible applications of
this work, including the long-term promise of techniques for thorough and
inexpensive control of the structure of matter.
Scientists and technologists working in relevant fields who would like to
be considered for participation should send a bio, c.v., or resume, along
with a brief position statement, to FI for forwarding to the technical selection
committee for consideration. Emphasize your connection, if any, to the meeting's
four areas of focus: (1) protein and other biomolecule engineering, (2)
molecular self-assembly; biomimetic, supramolecular, and host-guest chemistry,
(3) atomic imaging and positioning (i.e. scanning probe microscopy),
and (4) molecular modeling. If you have published in one of these areas,
feel free to send only a reprint and a couple of sentences describing your
current position. (Please do not contact the FI office regarding these invitations;
the committee will contact you directly if you are selected.)
This is the first in a series of
conferences on nanotechnology to be sponsored by the Foresight Institute;
we anticipate that later meetings will be larger and able to accommodate
a broader range of attendees.
The summary of Dr. Jeff
MacGillivray's talk for the MIT Nanotechnology Symposium in our last
issue is in need of clarification: he does not regard conventional quantities
of resources (e.g., kilograms or tons of rare metals) as being of
substantial enduring value, although matter and energy on a sufficiently
large scale surely will be. Also, the description
of the LBJ School Project in our last issue omitted the key role played
by David Armistead, founder of Futuretrends, in initiating the project and
chairing (along with Roger Duncan) the Futuretrends project committee. The
talk in Seattle was
given at the University of Washington, not the University of Seattle.
The Foresight Institute receives hundreds of letters requesting information
and sending ideas. Herewith excerpts:
Having read Engines of Creation,
I am very interested in nanotechnology and agree wholeheartedly that it
is critical to begin investigating our future with this technology now.
Even without the advent of nanotechnology, the formation of groups (and
'metagroups') to help us investigate and plan for the future (or merely
cope) would be urgently necessary, as the pace and scope of technological
change picks up.
Cerritos, CA Thank you for sending the reprints on nanotechnology
that I requested. I must admit that while I still have reservations about
the practicality of atomic-scale machinery [i.e. molecular machinery--editor]
I find the concepts most provocative. Although I am sure you have dealt
with the argument many times before, as a biochemical geneticist I feel
impelled to mention that the somewhat higher organizational level of supramolecular
complexes--such as multienzyme aggregates, mulifunctional enzymes, ribosomes,
RNA splicing complexes, and of course the bacterial flagellar "motor"--offers
certain advantages. One assumes that there is a reason why enzymes are large
relative to their active centers and a plausible answer is that they gain
thermal stability and the possibility of fine control over reaction rates
and specificity. Nanomachines may need to be similarly embedded in or mounted
on larger, mostly inert matrices...
Rather than emulating the structural rigidity of pre-Twentieth century mechanical
engineering, the inherent flexibility of larger molecules could be exploited
as they are in enzymes. I suspect that nanomachines will in general not
be simple copies of macromachines on a very reduced scale.
Anyway, I'm convincible. The mechanical models are a logical starting point
conceptually and will probably play an indispensable role as the actual
working parts of nanomachines.
We appreciate receiving copies of articles of interest from: Bill Ammells,
Donald J. Fears, W.C. Gaines, Stan and Kiyomi Hutchings, Wallace McClure,
John Murray, Billy Shilling, Barry Silverstein, and Daniel Wiener. Thanks
also to Tom McKendree for a book recommendation which we plan to cover in
the next issue. Ongoing thanks go to Fred Stitt (and his staff including
Marty Barrett and Ed Gadsden) of Guidelines and Ed Niehaus of Niehaus Public
Relations for their continuing pro bono work on FI publications and press