Foresight Update 14
A publication of the Foresight Institute
The Foresight Institute has an online address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CompuServe users can reach us by sending mail addressed to:
There is also an electronic discussion group on nanotechnology
called sci.nanotech on the USENET computer network; we have been
told it has 24,000 readers. It can be reached by members of the
general public who subscribe to a commercial service such as
Portal, the service we use. Portal can be reached by calling
408-973-9111, or sign on automatically by having your modem dial
415-725-0561. Another service, the WELL, also carries
sci.nanotech; they can be reached at 415-332-4335 (voice) or
415-332-6106 (data). Both Portal and the WELL are based in the
San Francisco Bay Area but are accessible to those outside the
area. If similar services exist in your local calling area, it
may be less expensive to use them instead of the services
We can also be reached by sending mail on the American
Information Exchange to Foresight, with a forwarded copy to
Other Foresight organizations can be reached as follows: Institute for Molecular Manufacturing
at email@example.com; Center
for Constitutional Issues in Technology at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you online.
[Editor's note: The above contact information
is largely out of date. Instead use:
Foresight Institute: email@example.com.
Institute for Molecular Manufacturing: firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Manufacturing Shortcut Group
At the recent International Space Development Conference,
hosted by the National Space Society, Tom McKendree was elected
president of the Molecular
Manufacturing Shortcut Group. This NSS chapter focuses on
nanotechnology and molecular manufacturing as the leading
technology enabling space development, access to space resources,
and the development of human communities in space. For more
information on the group, please write to NSS Molecular
Manufacturing Shortcut Group, c/o Tom McKendree, 12171 Amethyst
Circle, Garden Grove, CA 92645.
[Editor's note: The current mailing address
is: Molecular Manufacturing Shortcut Group, 8381 Castilian
Drive, Huntington Beach, CA 92646.]
Faces at IMM
Neil Jacobstein, Vice President and General Manager of the
Knowledge Systems Division of Cimflex Teknowledge Corporation,
has joined the Board of Directors of the Institute for Molecular
Manufacturing. Mr. Jacobstein brings extensive experience in the
industrial research community, particularly in advanced
manufacturing. He has managed and participated in the development
of knowledge system technology projects sponsored by a wide range
of corporate and government clients, including the National
Science Foundation, GM, Ford, Motorola, FMC, NCR, Procter and
Gamble, DARPA, and the U.S. Air Force.
He also has a background in studies related to the environment
which, combined with his manufacturing and software experience,
is expected to assist IMM in its efforts to further research in
environmentally-benign molecular manufacturing and
nanotechnology. His addition strengthens both the expertise and
vision of the Board.
Also new at IMM is Executive Director Kathleen Shatter, whose
predecessor Lynne Stiegler, née Morrill, left to pursue an
advanced degree. Ms. Shatter brings experience in nonprofit
funding development and event organization. She is also familiar
with the nanotechnology-oriented business community from her work
on the Second Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology,
for which she secured substantial corporate sponsorship. In
addition to her duties at IMM, she will be assisting Foresight
with conferences and fundraising development.
Information can be obtained by writing to IMM at 555 Bryant
Street, Suite 253, Palo Alto, California, 94301; by calling
415-852-1244; by sending a fax to 415-852-9098; or by sending
email to email@example.com.
[Editor's note: The above phone numbers and
email address are out of date. Instead use:
tel. 415-917-1120; fax. 415-917-1123; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Charles Babbage and his Calculating Engines.
Doron Swade, 1991, Science Museum, London, 48 pages, softcover,
An engrossing exposition of early efforts to build mechanical
computers: how Babbage came so close to succeeding and why he
failed. Explores the difficulties of exploratory engineering.
Heavily illustrated. [Editor's note: one of Babbage's machines
was recently built and shown to work as designed, with the
technology then available.]
The Molecular Design of Life. Lubert Stryer,
1989, W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, 215 pages, hardcover,
This superbly illustrated book provides an excellent overview, in
molecular terms, of biochemistry, recombinant DNA, proteins, and
the intriguing interactions among these as a foundation for those
systems that are regarded as "living." The book's
emphasis on visual explanations and informative sidebars make the
content accessible to a wide range of readers without requiring
specialized knowledge of biochemistry.
Stryer covers the basics of protein structure and function,
explains DNA and RNA as information molecules yielding heredity,
and then provides a clearly understandable description of genes
and enzymes, and the roles of these key structures in molecular
Overall, this work is meant for the interested layperson, but the
technical reader will find sufficient tabular data, explanatory
images, and concise descriptions as well.
The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning
Organization. Peter M. Senge, 1990, Doubleday
Currency, New York, 424 pages, hardcover, $19.95.
Senge presents a book that is both descriptive of American
business organizations and prescriptive for successful leadership
within them. The book's central focus is on organizational
aspects that either enable or inhibit learning for the individual
and, more important, the organization as a whole. He advocates
that leaders learn that they are not, in an organizational sense,
prisoners of the system but instead are prisoners of their own
thinking and expectations.
This book invites the reader to adopt a perspective of what
sociologists term "the social construction of reality,"
in which individuals and departments operating in an
organizational context learn to identify the patterns of behavior
that control human events. Given this knowledge, leadership
becomes an activity of creating shared visions, team learning,
and the communication of effective mental models.
Senge's work is clearly written and presents many engaging
examples without becoming ponderous as a case-history tome. This
book should be required reading for everyone in a position of
managerial responsibility or who has any interest in
organizations. It provides all readers with keen insight in their
own situations and how to improve the organizations in which they
work, play, and participate, as well as "learning how to
learn" in an organizational context. Highly recommended.
This fall Wiley Interscience will publish the first technical
book on molecular nanotechnology, entitled Nanosystems:
Molecular Machines, Manufacturing and Computation by K.
Eric Drexler. While the book is written for the graduate or
advanced undergraduate level, and assumes substantial knowledge
of physics and math, the interested lay reader will be able to
learn from many of the approximately 200 illustrations.
The book will be published simultaneously in both hardcover and
softcover editions. The softcover edition is likely to be priced
under $25, affordable even for student readers. Currently the
official publication date is set for October, although Wiley
hopes to have copies available one or two months earlier.
Readers will be taken from the basic principles governing
nanoscale phenomena, through macroscale nanoengineered systems,
research pathways, and development timescale considerations. Nanosystems
can serve as a nanotechnology textbook for students in a wide
variety disciplines as well as an introduction and working tool
for professionals who are already in or would like to be in the
Topics include: molecular mechanics, molecular dynamics,
potential energy surfaces, positional uncertainty,
thermomechanical damage, radiation damage, energy dissipation,
mechanosynthesis, forcible mechanochemical processes, structural
components, bearings, gears, motors, computational systems,
assembly, and implementation strategies.
The author wishes to acknowledge support from the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing
during the research and writing phases of Nanosystems.
[Editor's note: For more information,
including a detailed Table of Contents, see http://nano.xerox.com/nanotech/nanosystems.html.
To order a copy of the book from Foresight, use the book order form.]
In honor of its 60th anniversary, the Journal of the
British Interplanetary Society is dedicating the opening
issue of its Celebration Series to the topic "Nanotechnology
in Space." JBIS is known for publishing
exploratory engineering work on space development and
The issue is scheduled for October 1992 and will be edited by
Salvatore Santoli. Dr. Santoli reports that he plans to interpret
the term nanotechnology as Foresight does, i.e. molecular
nanotechnology, or thorough control of the structure of matter.
Awarded Autodesk Grants
of Sausalito, California, has awarded an educational grant to
Foresight Institute that includes three of its leading software
products: the newly released HyperChem, Animator
Pro and 3D Studio. Foresight will use the
Autodesk software to develop visualizations of nanomechanical
devices using HyperChem and create visualizations of
nanotechnology and molecular manufacturing using Animator
Pro and 3D Studio. We appreciate Autodesk's
award and their continuing support of pathways leading to
nanotechnology as represented by software for designing molecular
manufacturing devices. Thank you, Autodesk.
Foresight would like to express our appreciation to many
individuals not mentioned elsewhere in this issue. Special thanks
to Ron Edquist for his regular online searches, to Ted Kaehler
for financial assistance for the July 11 regional meeting, to
Carol Shaw for ongoing bookkeeping help, to Russ Mills for his Update
column and layout work, to Ed Niehaus for press relations
assistance, and to Gayle Pergamit for human resource advice.
Thanks to Bob Schumaker and Jeff Crilly for help with sending to
large email lists. Thanks to Glenn Reynolds, Scott Pace, Margaret
Jordan, Tim Kyger, and Danica Remy for help with Eric Drexler's
Senate testimony. Thanks to Joy Martin for her presentation on
nanotechnology. Thanks to the following for sending articles: Jon
Alexandr, Joe Bonaventura, Marshall Burns, John J. Closner,
William Drake, Donald Fears, Tim Freeman, W.C. Gaines, John
Gilmore, Roger Gregory, Graham Houston, Jeffrey Liss, Ralph
Merkle, John Primiani, Edward Rietman, Bill Schertz, A.
Finally, special thanks from the Foresight Board go (as always)
to our Executive Director, Jamie Dinkelacker, and (the first
time) to our new Project Manager, Jane Nikkel.
From Foresight Update 14, originally
published 15 July 1992.
Foresight thanks Dave Kilbridge for converting Update 14 to
html for this web page.