Foresight Nanotech Institute Logo
Image of nano
Home > News & Events > Events and Lectures

2013 Conference Follow-Up: Illuminating Atomic Precision

Conference Follow-Up

January 11-13, 2013, Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel, Palo Alto, California

Main Conference Web site

Conference Co-Chairs
Larry S. Millstein, President, Foresight Institute
J. Fraser Stoddart, Board of Trustees Professor, Northwestern University

Diamond Sponsor: The Thiel Foundation
Silver Sponsors: Autodesk, Zyvex Labs
Bronze Sponsor: Millen, White, Zelano & Branigan, PC

Blending in-field conversation with cross-disciplinary stimulation

The 2013 Foresight Technical Conference – Illuminating Atomic Precision – was held on 11-13 January at the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Cabana in Palo Alto. The conference was designed to bring together world leading researchers in five major areas of importance to developing atomically precise technologies, blending in-field conversation with cross-disciplinary stimulation. Over 35 invited speakers presented their latest results and perspectives on a wide variety of subjects relating to the development of atomic precision technologies. Their presentations revealed tremendous across the board progress over the past decade toward the processes, materials and devices first hinted at by Richard Feynman and explored in much greater detail by K. Eric Drexler. The conference had a palpable feeling of great excitement—of being just past an inflection point. And, by all accounts of the participants it was a huge success, stimulating not only imaginative extrapolation and some out of the box creatively but also numerous real world collaborations. (See participant’s comments below.)

Pre-conference bios and abstracts are available on the conference website: Professor Neil R. Champness was quoted in the March 2013 issue of Nature Nanotechnology "Foresight technical conference 2013: Illuminating Feynman's vision" saying: "The candid nature of the conference, helped by a strict media policy, allowed free-flowing discussion of both unpublished science and exploitation of nanoscale devices in a commercial setting.". More information may be available directly from the individual speakers.

Selected Conference Videos

Videos have been posted of those presentations for which the speakers have consented. Other presentations contained confidential information and will not be posted.

In his introductory comments, Conference Co-Chair Larry S. Millstein stressed that the five sessions of the Conference were designed to bring together five research communities that have until now not had close contacts, in the hope that their interactions would accelerate progress. Similarly, the Conference's restrictive media policy was designed to accelerate progress by encouraging speakers to share with Conference participants unpublished research by assuring them that sharing these results would not interfere with their future publication. video length 3:49.

In his introductory comments, Conference Co-Chair J. Fraser Stoddart observed that for a quarter of a century nanotechnology has been bringing together physicists, chemists, biologists, material scientists, engineers, and computational people under the banner of "nano". He referred to his own recent work as an example of the self-assembly of simple structures to produce emergent complex behavior, and expressed the desire that this assembly bringing together widely divergent scientific, technological and engineering perspectives would inspire new knowledge. video length 7:36 bio

John Randall: "Atomically Precise Manufacturing" video length 28:52 bio and abstract Summary on Nanodot

Leonhard Grill: "Assembly and Manipulation of Molecules at the Atomic Scale:'Stiching and Switching'" Foresight Institute Feynman Prize winner, 2011 Experimental video length 27:43 bio and abstract Summary on Nanodot

Philip Moriarty: "Mechanical Atom Manipulation: Towards a Matter Compiler?" video length 31:14 bio and abstract Summary on Nanodot

Gerhard Klimeck: "Multi-Million Atom Simulations for Single Atom Transistor Structures" video length 26:37 bio and abstract Summary on Nanodot

Dean Astumian: "Microscopic Reversibility: The Organizing Principle for Molecular Machines" Foresight Institute Feynman Prize winner, 2011 Theoretical video length 42:12 bio and abstract Summary on Nanodot

George Church: "Regenesis: Bionano" video length 51:19 bio and abstract Summary on Nanodot

Feynman Awards Banquet at Foresight Technical Conference 2013 video length 17:58

Awards were presented to the winners of the 2011 Feynman Prizes Leonhard Grill of the Fritz Haber Institute, Germany, for the Experiment prize, and Raymond Astumian of the University of Maine, for the Theory prize. The winners of the 2012 Feynman Prizes were also presented: Leo Gross of IBM Research in Zurich, representing his teammates Gerhard Meyer and Jascha Repp, for the Experiment Prize, and David Soloveichik of the University of California, San Francisco, for the Theory prize. The 2012 Student Award was presented to David Walker of Northwestern University. In addition, a special appreciation prize was presented to Christine Peterson, Co-Founder and Past President of Foresight, for having been a "guiding light" and inspiration for Foresight for 26 years.

Joseph Puglisi: "Deciphering the Molecular Choreography of Translation" video length 34:08 bio and abstract Summary on Nanodot

David Soloveichik: "Artificial Biochemistry with DNA" Foresight Institute Feynman Prize winner, 2012 Theoretical video length 29:14 Summary on Nanodot

Alex Wissner-Gross: "Bringing Computational Programmability to Nanostructured Surfaces" video length 6:31 bio and abstract Summary on Nanodot

Art Olson: "New Methods of Exploring, Analyzing, and Predicting Molecular Interactions" video length 46:17 bio and abstract

Gerhard Klimeck: "Mythbusting Knowledge Transfer Mechanisms through Science Gateways" video length 40:28 bio and abstract

William Goddard: "Nanoscale Materials, Devices, and Processing Predicted from First Principals" video length 34:22 bio and abstract

In his closing comments, Conference Co-Chair Larry S. Millstein noted in reference to Richard Feynman's famous 1959 talk "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" that the presentations in this Conference not only illuminated atomic precision, but showed that there is "Plenty of Room" in all directions from atomic precision: below there are sub-molecular structures like single electron gates, qubits, etc; above there is the challenge of coupling atomic phenomena to the macroscale; laterally there is communication among the different disciplines working with atomic precision. video length 5:00

For the full conference schedule, and detailed information on sessions, speakers and talks, see the conference web site

Particpants’ Comments

Quotations by permission from the evaluation forms filled out by conference participants
“Best conference ever” - Anon
“An excellent blend of fascinating materials some of which I understood and some of which left me eager for a break and some friendly explanation” - Kary Mullis
“Great Conference - wide-ranging, top rate research, excellent interactions” - Art Olson
“A great forum to strike up new research collaborations” - Joe Lyding
“The best [Foresight] conference I’ve attended in over 30 years of attending such conferences”- Bill Goddard III
“Extremely entertaining and worthwhile.” - John Randall
“The lunch discussion was valuable enough to justify [attending].” - Adam M. Glickman”
“Formidable! Intellectual overload in a good way. Best Foresight Conference I’ve attended.” - Marisa Alma McGinnis
“Amazing progress over last decade.” - David Gustavson
“It was amazing to see how far the science has gotten.” - Max Sims
“Historic. Very dense information content. [And] Very enjoyable!” - Anon
“Superlative interdisciplinary group engaged with a sense of group purpose meeting as a jovial, collegial conclave … definitely breeding collaboration to accelerate innovation.”
“Enthralling, broad based but cutting edge inspiring at every level.” - Anon
“Great conference!” - Anon (more than one)

2014 Technical Conference

The next Foresight Conference was held February 7-9, 2014, at the Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel, Palo Alto, CA USA. Additional information.

Library of Foresight Institute Conferences on Nanotechnology, 1989–2013

Library of Foresight Vision Weekends and Senior Associates Gatherings, 1992–2008


Donate Now

News & Events

Foresight Programs

Join Now


Home About Foresight Blog News & Events Roadmap About Nanotechnology Resources Facebook Contact Privacy Policy

Foresight materials on the Web are ©1986–2015 Foresight Institute. All rights reserved. Legal Notices.

Web site development by Netconcepts. Email marketing by gravityMail. Maintained by James B. Lewis Enterprises.