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Now you can nominate nanotechnology as Grand Challenge

The U.S. National Academy of Engineering is requesting your input on Grand Challenges for Engineering over the next 100 years. This being Nanodot, we hope you’ll nominate nanotechnology. It’s a serious effort funded by $500,000 from NSF. From the MSNBC coverage:

The comments will be winnowed down, then reviewed by an 18-member blue-ribbon committee headed by former Defense Secretary William Perry. Among the other members are Google co-founder Larry Page, genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter and millionaire inventors Dean Kamen and Ray Kurzweil.

And this being Nanodot, we hope you’ll nominate not just generic nanotechnology, but programmable, atomically-precise manufacturing, also termed productive nanosystems. You can see examples of earlier suggestions on the comment submission page.

Although they specify a 100-year timeframe, your suggestion is more likely to be selected if you aim for the first half of that, I would bet. And remember to relate your goal to a real human problem facing us today; that will help. See the list of judges before writing your comment. —Christine

One Response to “Now you can nominate nanotechnology as Grand Challenge”

  1. Adrian Wilkins Says:

    I think basic science education should probably be amongst the grand challenges – reading through the bulk of the comments here and on other pages, the general level of ignorance is lamentable.

    Internal combustion engines that run on water? Over-unity generators? Mid-road wind turbines to harvest the wind energy of passing cars? Anti-gravity? (and these are just the ones that got past the moderators!).

    Of course, there are more serious contributions. Energy and sustainability have a strong presence. The enthusiasm for space exploration continues unabated, whether it’s just for the blue sky fun, or for the rather more serious goal of species preservation.

    There are also many comments dealing with the increasing difficulty of technical engineering and the need for improved methods of collaboration. One chap suggested a website in the MS Project style for the management of an energy independence plan for the USA. Another suggestion was connecting all our brains into a “Mind Matrix”.

    It was interesting to see how many of the comments directed at improving energy infrastructure or third-world technology were motivated by either guilt at the negative perception of the USA or the need to isolate the USA from dependence on foreign oil.

    And of course, the number of people registering an interest in immortality and 3D television was fairly high. Presumably, the 3D television is to give you something interesting to watch for all eternity.

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