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Time Magazine: nanotech benefits potentially enormous

from the Time-for-nanotech-time dept.
Senior Associate RalphMerkle reports an item on molecular nanotech not available on the web:"The June 19th 2000 issue of Time Magazine, "The Future of Technology," has a two-page article titled "Will tiny robots build diamonds one atom at a time?" by Michael D. Lemonick on page 94:"On its face, the notion seems utterly preposterous: a single technology so incredibly versatile that it can fight disease, stave off aging, clean up toxic waste, boost the world's food supply and build roads, automobiles and skyscrapers — and that's only to start with…Crazy though it sounds, the idea of nanotechnology is very much in the scientific mainstream, with research labs all over the world trying to make it work."Read More for additional quotes from this well-done article. Merkle comments: Acceptance of the core concepts of molecular nanotechnology is proceeding at an accelerating rate. "Last January President Clinton even declared a National Nanotechnology Initiative, promising $500 million for the effort."

"In fact, nanotechnology has an impeccable and longstanding scientific pedigree. It was back in 1959 that Richard Feynman, arguably the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein, gave a talk titled "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom," in which he suggested that it would one day be possible to build machines so tiny they would consist of just a few thousand atoms."

The article continues, describing nanotechnology as we understand it, concluding with "One way or another, nanotechnology is coming."

The following two pages (96-97) have a pictorial overview of "What is nanotechnology?" They mention Feynman, Drexler and Engines of Creation. They describe nanobots, assemblers, self-replicators, top-down and bottom-up manufacturing. They then describe applications: "Everything in the world is made from atoms. Nanobots manipulate atoms. Thus nanobots could in principle make anything from apples to airplanes." They then describe nanotubes, nanomedicine, environmental cleanup, electronics, cheap strong materials, and the "nightmare scenario" in which "…the entire planet could rapidly be reduced to a teeming mass of robots."

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