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Archive for the 'Opinion' Category

Nanotechnology in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 16th, 2007

In their current issue, the folks who usually focus on nuclear war take a look ahead to nanotech war, via a book review by CRN’s Mike Treder of the book Military Nanotechnology: Potential Applications and Preventive Arms Control by Jürgen Altmann. Deeply researched and carefully worded, Military Nanotechnology is an overview of an emerging technology [...]

Nanotechnology: the new IT

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 12th, 2007

For decades, information technology has been the biggest change agent in technology. Now we see a prediction on CNet News.com that atoms will again step up to a significant role, compared to bits: Society-impacting technological change will increasingly come from physical sciences, such as chemistry, physics and mechanical engineering, rather than information technologies, said Matthew [...]

Patent office arms race will hurt nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on October 17th, 2007

There’s an arms race between government patent offices and patent filers assisted by private law firms. The folks who work for the former get paid a lot less than the those who work for the latter. This leads to a continual drain away from government review of patent applications toward private generation of patent applications. [...]

The next national nanotechnology program

Posted by Christine Peterson on September 19th, 2007

Alan Shalleck of NanoClarity writes over at Nanotechnology Now on how the U.S. should go about planning its future federal funding of nanotech. Excerpts: It is time to explore what the next three to five year national nanotechnology funding allocation will look like. We have already benefited from two multiple-year, multibillion-dollar Presidentially-endorsed Federal programs and [...]

The future of manufacturing: Nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on September 7th, 2007

Babak Parviz of University of Washington, named by Technology Review as one of this year’s outstanding innovators under the age of 35, writes in the Sept/Oct issue (free reg req’d) about self-assembly: In nature, components “self-assemble” to yield complex functional systems. Inspired in part by this observation, a number of research groups are working to [...]

Nanotechnology to reduce worldwide transport?

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 31st, 2007

Science Daily brings news of the future of transportation as nanotechnology changes how we make our products, described in the book Transport Communications. An excerpt from Science Daily: By introducing nanotechnology, the authors suggest, goods could be produced and distributed locally, limiting the amount of worldwide transport that takes place annually. Whether discussing virtual reality-based [...]

Nanotechnology ethics book is surprisingly fun

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 28th, 2007

“Fun” is not the first word that comes to mind when the topic of ethics comes up, but the new book Nanoethics: the Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology manages to include a surprising amount of it. Topics include the end of biological aging, body enhancement, privacy, military use, exponential manufacturing, space development, AI, and [...]

New ACS Nanotechnology journal free for 2007

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 24th, 2007

There seem to already be an awful lot of nanotechnology and nanoscience journals out there, but ACS feels there’s room for another: ACS Nano. Editor Paul Weiss — who does “molecular motor-driven assembly“, which sounds fascinating — explains: One of the great traditions of the chemical sciences is that one’s work can be reproduced anywhere [...]

Using nanotechnology to prevent pollution

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 23rd, 2007

We hear so much about possible environmental concerns with respect to nanoparticles that it is a joy to have David Berube bring to our attention the upcoming EPA conference on Pollution Prevention through Nanotechnology, Sept. 25-26, which may possibly still be accepting poster presentations: Representatives from industry, academia, non-governmental organizations, and government are invited to [...]

Nanotechnology and the wildcard of advanced software

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 13th, 2007

Nanotech experiments using real molecules are expensive and slow. Progress in nanotechnology would be greatly increased by highly advanced software truly able to model how molecules interact to make materials, devices, and systems. What are the odds of highly advanced software — machine intelligence — being developed any time soon? Explore this question at the [...]

Nanotechnology to reduce experiments on animals

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 10th, 2007

Here’s a cheerful note on which to end our week: Most of us would like to reduce the need for experimentation on animals, but the question has been how to do it without increasing risks to humans. Now nanotech is being considered as a possible route, in a new conference sponsored by IoN (there does [...]

Nanotechnology for life extension goes mainstream

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 7th, 2007

Foresight president Pearl Chin brings our attention to an interview of Sanjay Gupta in Life Extension magazine. It sounds as though his new book Chasing Life includes coverage of nanotechnology. Excerpts from the interview: Turn on any television in the world—Beijing, Chicago, Tel Aviv, Rome, Los Angeles, or Tokyo—and you will find Dr. Sanjay Gupta [...]

Nanotechnology explored in new Nanoethics book

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 2nd, 2007

The new book Nanoethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology is now out. From the press release: Examining the impact of nanotechnology on society, “Nanoethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology”…offers incisive essays on the potential risks and rewards of applications of nanotechnology written by both proponents and critics of this burgeoning technology. [...]

Nanotechnology researchers speak out

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 12th, 2007

The University of South Carolina has released a survey of nanotechnology researchers’ views on various nanotech issues. For example, most agreed that: Nanotechnology will draw more students into science, engineering and math than would otherwise have chosen to study in these fields. I think this is already true — after all, students have been reading [...]

Nanotechnology: Productive Nanosystems as a Grand Challenge?

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 11th, 2007

The U.S. National Academy of Engineering wants input on what should be the Grand Challenges in engineering over the next century. Let’s let them know: nanotechnology! Specifically, nanotech leading toward, and achieving, productive nanosystems. Heck, they can just follow the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems. The IEEE has a summary. You have until August 17, [...]

Medical nanobots: Nanotechnology desired but not here yet

Posted by Christine Peterson on June 26th, 2007

Marvin Hofberg of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine sends info on nanotechnology for medicine and longevity: Among the scientific and medical phenomena unveiled at the Eighth Congress that are projected to revolutionize the delivery of healthcare and, as a result, improve the quality and extend the quantity of the human lifespan: • Nanobots, fleets [...]

Patent Reform Act to aid nanotechnology?

Posted by Christine Peterson on June 22nd, 2007

Today’s San Jose Mercury News — the newspaper of Silicon Valley — features a guest editorial by Wirt Cook, IBM vice president and senior state executive, on the proposed Patent Reform Act, titled “Patent Reform Act best way to protect, foster innovation”: Berman’s bill will enable private-citizen-experts to help patent examiners research the novelty of [...]

Nanotechnology: utopian, dire, or neither?

Posted by Christine Peterson on June 18th, 2007

Those of us who spend our days looking at innovation would do well to look at the other side now and then. The New Yorker gives us a chance with a book review by Steven Shapin of the book “The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since 1900” (Oxford) by David Edgerton. He [...]

Nano 50: Nanotechnology winners announced

Posted by Christine Peterson on June 15th, 2007

Nanotech Briefs has announced its Nano 50 award winners for 2007, in the categories of Innovators, Products, and Technologies. (Full disclosure: I was a judge again this year.) Great to see Zyvex on the list. Don’t see your favorites? Maybe they weren’t nominated. Don’t let that happen for the Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes; nominate your [...]

To use or not to use: Nanotechnology in sunscreens

Posted by Christine Peterson on June 11th, 2007

Some sunscreens contain simple nanomaterials: nanoparticles of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Sunscreens have had these for decades, but the particles used to be bigger, which is why lifeguards at the beach used to have white noses. Now the particles are smaller, so the sunscreens are transparent. Applying the “nanotechnology” label to these products is [...]