Nanotechnology is no longer just a hypothetical
science. Over the past few decades, both theoretical
work of great importance has been done.
Nanotechnology was born with the speech "There's Plenty Of Room On The Bottom" given by Richard P. Feynman
in 1959. The fundamental idea is that by manipulating individual molecules
, we can make objects more accurately than nature itself.
Since the first humans, we have manipulated our environment in an inaccurate way, be it chipping flint
with stone or pressing aircraft aluminum
. Our technology is limited by our size as we can only manipulate materials using force and heat, basically brute force
. By using an intermediate that is smaller than us, we can manipulate the building blocks of the universe and create perfect objects. The arrangement of atoms is a chief problem in this world. What makes tissue
one way makes cancer
another, and what makes coal
one way makes diamonds
another. When we have the power to make objects atom by atom, and rearrange atoms in living things, man will have god-like powers. Disease, poverty and hunger will be things of the past. Flexible diamond like sheeting will revolutionize space travel, shelter, and unfortunately warfare. The first step is to learn to manipulate atoms.
Currently, scientists can manipulate atoms using the tips of tiny pointers attached to microscopes. They can position atoms at will on a substrate
, and have been able to spell out messages, make drawings, etc. But in order to take the next leap, many people believe we must build robots small enough to manipulate atoms themselves, and have them do our bidding. These robots are called nanobots. In “Engines of Creation
” a book by K. Eric Drexler
(who popularized the phrase “nano”) a system is proposed in which a first generation of nanobots builds a second, smaller generation of nanobots. These would then replicate
until they numbered enough to do work, and could assemble atoms taken from raw material into structures. Although it was published in 1986, Engines of Creation is one of the best books to read if you are interested in nanotech.
The Foresight Institute
(www.foresight.org) was started by K. Eric Drexler in order to help regulate nanotech research and is a good place to go for information. Research occurs globally, but is centered in California
. Nanotech is an interdisciplinary science. It requires knowledge of physics
, materials science
, and even biology
. It is one of a few areas of science that promise to change the world as we know it.
If you are interested in nanotechnology, or think you might be, I highly reccomend the website at http://nanothink.netfirms.com
as a good place for information.