Documenting the Coming Singularity

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Forbes Investors' Report: Nano 101 - An Investor's Guide to the World of Nanotechnology

WHAT IS NANOTECHOLOGY? (and why you should care)

Until recently, Mother Nature has been the only governing force in controlling intervention and manipulation of atoms and molecules. But after three decades of research, scientists can now work at the nanoscale to manipulate atoms and molecules, and they are able to understand these building blocks of matter like never before. I define nanotechnology as the precision placement, measurement, manipulation and modeling of sub-100 nanometer-scale matter, or matter that consists of about 4 to 400 atoms. To put that in perspective, one nanometer—a billionth of a meter—is 1/75,000th the width of a human hair. The range below 100 nanometers is important because when we get down to this small size, the classical laws of physics change to give us novel properties that can allow scientists to produce new materials with the exact properties they desire: smaller, stronger, tougher than what we know now.

So why should you care? For starters, almost every industry will be affected by nanotechnology. In a recent study, fewer than 2% of 1,000 top executives were able to define “nanotechnology.” Less than 5% had even heard of the word. But once the term was explained, 80% agreed that nanotechnology was relevant to their particular industry. In some circles, it promises pre-programmable drug delivery robots swimming inside your bloodstream to battle cancer, the creation of pollution-free energy systems and eternal life. Others, at a more conservative end of the spectrum, say that nanotechnology will be used to create stronger materials, next generation computing, and benign, yet salient, advances predicated on real science. It is the mixture of materials science, engineering, physics, chemistry and biology. (Get the entire pdf report below.)

Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech 101 Report

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