Foresight Update 15
A publication of the Foresight Institute
Special thanks go to Dr. James Dinkelacker for his work as
Foresight's Executive Director. Dr. Dinkelacker's achievements at
Foresight are too numerous to list here; Foresight members have
seen their effects add up since Jamie was convinced to relocate
to Palo Alto in 1991. See the article in this issue on Dr.
Dinkelacker's move to AMIX and Foresight's Board of Advisors.
Enthusiastic thanks go to volunteer Carol Shaw as her term as
bookkeeper comes to a close. Her work in computerizing the
Foresight financial records has been invaluable and will be
greatly appreciated into the indefinite future by her successors.
Conference chairman Eric Drexler and conference organizer Chris
Peterson extend special thanks to the many volunteers who helped
make the First General Conference on Nanotechnology a success:
Jamie Dinkelacker, Dave Krieger, Tom McKendree, Chip Morningstar,
Norma Peterson, Dave Wilson, and many others who joined in as
needed. Thanks also to the speakers and sponsors (see article in
this issue), who gave so generously of their time and funds,
respectively. The firm of Niehaus Ryan Haller Public Relations,
especially Ron Pernick and senior partner Ed Niehaus, performed
wonderfully in enabling our message to reach the public through
education of the press. In recognition of their long hours,
thanks go to staff members Jane Nikkel of Foresight and Kathleen
Shatter of IMM.
In connection with the meeting, a prize in molecular
nanotechnology was proposed and initial funds were pledged by
Foresight members Marc Arnold and Ted Kaehler. Work on
establishing the prize is in progress by volunteers Vic Kley and
Ted Kaehler and will be reported in a later issue.
Vigorous thanks go to members who send in relevant articles and
news, including but not limited to: Jim Conyngham, Clifton
Cooper, Dave Forrest, Rupert Hazle, Julian Hoogstra, Jeff
LaPorte, Thomas McCarthy, Tom McKendree, David Montane, Ed Regis,
Mark Reiners, Marta Sandberg, Bryan Shelby, A. Tsoularis, Jack
Veach. Please keep these coming; the subject of nanotechnology is
so broad that only a cooperative effort can succeed in the
On a lighter note, member Jim Till sent along some shirts
commemorating the recent conference, for distribution to the
volunteers as thank-you gifts. These were greatly enjoyed.
Fax, Email Info
We at the Foresight Institute would like to communicate much
more frequently with our membership. The paper newsletter is fine
for some purposes, but it is costly to produce and mail, and uses
up more trees than we'd like. There's a better way to do frequent
communication: fax and electronic mail. To use these means we
need your fax number and/or email address. Unless you've already
sent these in, please do so now.
If you're outside the U.S., try to put your fax number into a
format we can use: for example, often a zero before the city code
needs to be deleted. Your email address needs to be in Internet
format; it should look roughly similar to ours (firstname.lastname@example.org)
including an @ sign, and ending in com, gov, edu, org, or a
country code such as us, ca, uk, etc.
[Editor's note: Foresight's current email address is
Even after some communications have moved into fax or online,
Foresight's paper publications will continue in parallel.
One of Foresight's main goals is to communicate the concepts
of nanotechnology and molecular manufacturing to members of
various groups, from scientists to students. You can help us
refine these explanations: How do the people you know
generally react to these ideas? Please write us and describe your
experiences explaining nanotechnology to others. Which ideas are
easy to get across and which are difficult? Which examples and
explanations are most effective? How do these depend on the
listener's background? Please describe any problems you've
encountered. And, last, please tell us a bit about yourself. Send
to Foresight Institute, Attn: Conversations, PO Box 61058, Palo
Alto, CA 94306; or email to email@example.com.
[Editor's note: Foresight's current email address is
Nanosystems study group
The first Nanosystems study group has been formed
at Stanford, organized by Ted Kaehler and chaired by Prof. Bob
Solovay of U.C. Berkeley. For more information, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 408-974-6241.
Molecular CAD at PARC
Geoff Leach is visiting Xerox PARC, working with Ralph Merkle
for six months while on a sabbatical from the Royal Melbourne
Institute of Technology. Geoff has a background in computational
geometry and graphical software and is working on molecular CAD
tools. The focus of his sabbatical is an interactive graphical
crystal editor. This tool should permit the easy design of a
range of molecules whose structure is a variation of some crystal
structure. This includes molecular bearings, tubes, shafts, and a
broad range of other mechanical devices.
Our operations and membership are expanding. Your institute
could benefit greatly from donations of office space in the Palo
Alto area, a plain-paper fax machine, or Macintosh equipment.
Also, as our fundraising efforts increase, we could benefit from
learning about potential corporate members: companies that need
to keep abreast of nanotechnology. For more information, contact
Foresight and request corporate member information.
First Foresight Workshop
The Foresight Institute hosted "Introduction to
Nanotechnology: a Foresight Institute Briefing" this past
July 11th at the Stern Center in Palo Alto. It was attended by
over 50 old and new members. A range of presentations across the
technical and social spectrum were given:
- Eric Drexler, opened the briefing with a talk titled
"Introduction to Molecular Nanotechnology."
- Ralph Merkle discussed his recent work and showed a video
of proposed molecular devices from designs he has
developed in collaboration with Eric Drexler.
- Ted Kaehler gave an overview of the recent artificial
life (A-life) conference he attended, and the potentials
and problems of this set of ideas for nanotechnology.
- Marcus Krummenacker discussed his recent work developing
molecular building blocks.
- Neil Jacobstein explained the patterns of
"Nanotechnology R&D Sponsorship: International,
National and Nonprofit Foundation Projects."
- Marc Stiegler discussed social software for
nanotechnology with an explanation of both the Xanadu
hypertext concept and the AMIX information marketplace
- James C. Bennett discussed emergent policy issues in
nanotechnology and identified the importance of the
- Ed Niehaus described the emerging public perceptions of
nanotechnology and important considerations to reach
- Kathleen Shatter gave an overview of how to bootstrap a
research institute for nanotechnology.
- Chris Peterson gave a talk titled "Nanotechnology:
Evolution of the Concept" and presented a historical
and developmental context for nanotechnology and
- Gayle Pergamit spoke about "Present Choices, Future
Alternatives" and provided many fresh ideas about
how nanotechnology will impact daily living.
- Jamie Dinkelacker talked about "Nanotechnology and
the Need for Foresight" as both a wise activity to
consider given the range of social change emergent with
nanotechnology and as an organization dedicated to
addressing and communicating these issues.
Members expressed a high level of satisfaction with the
briefing and requested that others be held in the future.
Editor's note: Dr. Jamie Dinkelacker chaired the workshop. He
extends special thanks to Jane Nikkel and Chip Morningstar for
their coordination and volunteer efforts.
Ralph Merkle has lectured on nanotechnology and/or the related
topic of reversible computation at Stanford Linear Accelerator,
Xerox PARC, Physics of Computation Workshop, IBM Yorktown,
Interval Research, among others. He was also interviewed on NPR's
"Talk of the Nation" program.
Eric Drexler has lectured at the W. Alton Jones Foundation, the
Pentagon, and brought a nanotechnology perspective to an Office
of Technology Assessment Workshop on international security
Markus Krummenacker lectured on nanotechnology at the University
of Zurich. Gregory Fahy spoke on medical nanotechnology at the US
Pharmacopeial Convention in September. Kathleen Shatter lectured
on nanotechnology at an environmental conference in Corsica in
Due to lack of space in this issue, coverage of media articles
will be postponed. Briefly, nanotechnology has been discussed in
a myriad publications including Time, Science
News, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose
Mercury News, and Los Angeles Daily Journal.
Foresight Nanotechnology Conference Proceedings
Proceedings volumes are now available for Foresight's first
two technical conferences, the first from MIT Press and the
second from the journal Nanotechnology, published by
the Institute of Physics.
Nanotechnology: Research and
Perspectives, ed. BC Crandall and James Lewis, MIT Press,
1992, 390 pp., hardcover $39.95.
Proceedings from the First Foresight Conference on
Nanotechnology--the first international technical conference held
on the topic--were issued in December 1992. Edited by BC Crandall
and James Lewis, the volume is heavily illustrated, and gives a
good overview of the various fields contributing to molecular
nanotechnology development. MIT Press editor Terry Ehling reports
that the book is doing well in early sales. Foresight plans to
make this book available by mail order; meanwhile it can be
ordered using Visa or MasterCard from MIT Press at telephone
800-356-0343 or fax 617-625-6660.
[Editor's note: See Foresight Book Order Form.]
Papers included are:
- "Overview and Introduction" by K. Eric Drexler
- "Atomic Imaging and Positioning" by John Foster
- "Design of Self-Assembling Molecular Systems:
Electrostatic Structural Enforcement in Low-Dimensional
Molecular Solids" by Michael D. Ward
- "Molecular Engineering in Japan: Progress toward
Nanotechnology" by Hiroyuki Sasabe
- "Strategies for Molecular Systems Engineering"
by K. Eric Drexler
- "Molecular Electronics" by Robert Birge
- "Quantum Transistors and Integrated Circuits"
by Frederico Capasso
- "Fundamental Physical Constraints on the
Computational Process" by Norman Margolus
- "Nanotechnology from a Micromachinist's Point of
View" by Joseph Mallon
- "What Major Problems Need to Be Overcome to Design
and Build Molecular Systems?" Panel Discussion:
Drexler, Foster, Handel, Merkle, and Ward
- "Possible Medical Applications of Nanotechnology:
Hints from the Field of Aging Research" by Gregory
- "The Future of Computation" by Bill Joy
- "Economic Consequences of New Technologies" by
- "The Risks of Nanotechnology" by Ralph Merkle
- "Fears and Hopes of an Environmentalist for
Nanotechnology" by Lester W. Milbrath
- "The Weapon of Openness" by Arthur Kantrowitz
- "What Public Policy Pitfalls Can Be Avoided in the
Development and Regulation of Nanotechnology?" Panel
Discussion: Drexler, Kantrowitz, Merkle, Milbrath,
Schwartz, and Tullock
- Appendix A "Machines of Inner Space" by K. Eric
- Appendix B "There's Plenty of Room at the
Bottom" by Richard Feynman
Toward Molecular Control: Second
Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology
Fifteen papers from this conference comprise a double issue of
the journal Nanotechnology, published by the
Institute of Physics. To order this double issue, write or fax
to: IOP Publishing Ltd., Customer Service, Techno House,
Redcliffe Way, Bristol BS1 6NX, England; fax 44-272-294-318.
Request the two issues (Volume 2, numbers 3 and 4) in the
bound-together version if still available. The cost is $134 or
Ł69, payable by Visa, check, or bank transfer.
Papers included are:
- "Molecular directions in nanotechnology" by
- "Tip-sample interactions in atomic force microscopy:
I. Modulating adhesion between silicon nitride and
glass" by J.H. Hoh, J.P. Revel and P.K. Hansma
- "The bacterial rotary motor" by D.F. Blair
- "Computational nanotechnology" by R.C. Merkle
- "A combinatorial optimization approach to molecular
design" by J.P. Knight and G.J. McRae
- "The use of branched DNA for nanoscale
fabrication" by N.C. Seeman
- "Development of molecular patterning and
immobilization techniques for scanning tunnelling
microscopy and atomic force microscopy" by P.
Connolly, J. Cooper, G.R. Moores, J. Shen and G. Thompson
- "Self-organizing molecular photonic structures based
on functionalized synthetic nucleic acid (DNA)
polymers" by M.J. Heller and R.H. Tullis
- "Biological applications of scanning tunnelling
microscopy: novel software algorithms for the display,
manipulation and interpretation of STM data" by P.M.
Williams, M.C. Davies, D.E. Jackson, C.J. Roberts, S.J.B.
Tendler and M.J. Wilkins
- "A study of nanostructure assemblies and guest-host
interactions in sodium zeolite--Y using 23Na
double-rotation NMR" by R. Jelinek, A. Pines, S.
Özkar and G.A. Ozin
- "Theoretical studies of a hydrogen abstraction tool
for nanotechnology" by C.B. Musgrave, J.K. Perry,
R.C. Merkle and W.A. Goddard III
- "Two-dimensional (glyco)protein crystals as
patterning elements for the controlled immobilization of
functional molecules" by D. Pum, M. Sára, P.
Messner and U.B. Sleytr
- "Self-assembly approach to protein design" by
M. Lieberman, M. Tabet, D. Tahmassebi, Jingli Zhang and
- "Polymerization of immunoglobulin domains: a model
system for the development of facilitated macromolecular
assembly" by F.J. Stevens and E.A. Myatt
- "Cyanobiphenyl-group alignment observed by a
scanning tunneling microscope" by H. Nejoh, D.P.E.
Smith and M. Aono
Dr. James Dinkelacker, formerly Executive Director of
Foresight and now Vice President of Marketing at the American
Information Exchange, has joined the Foresight Board of Advisors.
Chris Peterson explained, "While Jamie's day-to-day input
will be missed, Foresight will have his ongoing advice and
assistance in management, communications, marketing, and
research. We wish him success at AMIX and in all his future
projects, and we look forward to his ongoing participation in the
Four new members have been added to the Advisory Board of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing:
- Ted Kaehler, computer scientist with Apple Computer and
Board member of the Center for Constitutional Issues in
- Dr. Michael Kelly, Consulting Professor with Stanford's
Department of Materials Science and Engineering,
- Ed Niehaus, senior partner of Niehaus Ryan Haller Public
Relations and former President of Software Entrepreneurs
- Hardin Tibbs, an expert in strategic management of
technology at Global Business Network, a research and
consulting firm specializing in scenario planning and
long range strategy development.
Kathleen Shatter, IMM's Executive Director, explains:
"With IMM's expanding goals, we needed to bring on
additional talent that can help make this new research institute
happen. Each of our new advisors brings a new and valuable
perspective to the project of growing IMM."
From Foresight Update 15, originally
published 15 February 1993.
Foresight thanks Dave Kilbridge for converting Update 15 to
html for this web page.