- Series: MIT Press
- Paperback: 226 pages
- Publisher: MIT Press (August 1, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262531372
- ISBN-13: 978-0262531375
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.5 x 8.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,518,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Nanotechnology: Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance
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With rich and colorful images, and with convincing logic, Nanotechnology presents a new technical field. I am certain this book will be well recieved by the imaginative and creative Chinese people.(Deyong Kong, Professor of National Research, Center for Science and Technology for Development, China; Science and Technology Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations)
Molecular engineering will be the dominant art form of the 21st century; a vision and a language of how to construct digital flesh in a time when artificial life becomes real life. Nanotechnology is a key guide to understanding our techno-future.(Arthur Kroker, co-author of Hacking the Future)
If Nanotechnology bears the fruits that many think it will, then it will radically transform nearly every facet of human life. Nanotechnology rigorously and yet imaginatively explores these dramatic changes. It is a book that sets fire to the mind.(Peter Schwartz, Chairman, Global Business Network)
There are many things that science and technology have promised the human race, and many of these promises have been kept. Nanotechnology raises the ante, exceeding almost every earlier promise a billion fold. Nanotechnology, Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance gives a clear and nontechnical tour of things we might expect.(Vernor Vinge, Associate Professor, Department of Math Sciences, San Diego State University)
I found this to be a very enjoyable and thought-provoking book looking into some of the more audacious directions that nanotechnology might go, with a good balance between straight design analysis, "what if" musings, and acknowledgement of associated policy problems. It also would be a good introduvtion for non-U.S. researchers as a cross-section of what is being talked about at present from certain futurists and should spark off quite a few ideas here in Japan.(Dr. Tanya C. Sienko, Researcher, National Institute of Science and Technology Policy)
In Nanotechnology, BC Crandall provides a real service to the layman interested in this exploding technology of the 21st century. He discusses the playing field, the terms and the players. He and his collaborators then present exciting and amusing descriptions of the future nanoworld -- a world I would like to stick around to see.(Admiral David E. Jeremiah, President, Technology Strategies & Alliances)
B.C. Crandall's Nanotechnology is both shocking and authoritative -- a feast for those who truly enjoy a glimpse of the future!(Greg Bear, author of Blood Music and Queen of Angels)
In clear and compelling language, Nanotechnology describes the ideas and techniques that are creating a new domain of science and technology.(Edward O. Wilson, Pellegrino University Professor, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University)
From the Back Cover
Technology is becoming molecularly precise. Nanotechnology, otherwise known as molecular engineering, will soon create effective machines as small as DNA. This capacity to manipulate matter-to program matter-with atomic precision will utterly change the economic, ecological, and cultural fabric of our lives.
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Many are enamored by the way the cells and bacteria of the body construct our reality. They would like to copy these processes and rename them nanotechnology. Viewing cells and proteins as nanomachines is not new. Evolution, itself, could be viewed as a way of encapsulating cooperating cells into human shaped terrariums. Crandall quotes Richard Preston on the flesh eating Ebola Zaire virus: "seven mysterious proteins that ...work as a relentless machine, a molecular shark, and they consume the body as the virus makes copies of itself."
These writers suggest ways man could profit by controlling the design of these cellular machines. Richard Crawford's contribution suggests man designed molecules could be injected into the blood steam in order to do the bidding of cosmetic surgeons. He sees big cash to be made. Edward Reifman proposes diamond teeth but would this put dentists in the unemployment line? Brian Wowk manipulates phase array optics to enable the reader to construct a STAR TREK holodeck. J. Storrs Hall envisions filling one's environment with utility fog, placing one within a kind of pixel coated TV screen where objects in your personal space can be moved as easily as pictures on that screen. Tom McKendree worries that nanosized assemblers will make goods so plentiful that nothing will be of any value. Crandall, himself, suggests that when room runs out on earth we might repackage man into geodesic spheres, floating ecospheres, in stationary orbit high above the planet. All pretty good fictional science but why not read Greg Bear where you also get the plot, characters and action.
building things atom by atom like biology does.
extraordinary things from ordinary mater (see
After reading nanotechnology, Molecular Speculations on Global
Abundance (The MIT Press), I found an ancient bottle washed ashore by
I popped the top and to my surprise, a Green Genie
materialized before my eyes.
You have three wishes boomed the
Ill have nanotechnology. And your other
two wishes? And to his surprise I said, Pack up and join the ether.
Who needs magic if you have atomic precision chemistry.
This attitude is amply backed up by the stream of authors and their
thoughts presented in BC Crandalls latest work.
Prepare for anew wave
of startling ideas written by a group of the Worlds foremost
Attention Nano Venture Capitalists.
This is the info you are looking
Read and profit.
Now a summery of the authors and their
1. Molecular engineering.
BC Crandall, the books editor, founder of Molecular Realities, Memetic
Engineering and co-founder of Prime Arithmetics inc., starts the work
with a thorough intro to the concept beginning with an explanation of
the atom, the workings of chemistry and self assembling natural
machines like DNA in a style comfortably accessible to the uninitiated
Then Crandall moves on to A Genealogy of Nanotechnology.
How ideas and discoveries of the past, (the study of artificial life
concepts, the invention of scanning tunneling microscopes, walking
molecules) have transported science to the brink of this incredible
Excellent and mandatory background information.
2. In-Vivo Nanoscope and the Two-Week Revolution.
Ted Kaehler of Apple Computer, has a two part chapter that sheds a
calibrating light on the time table and extreme complexity of
developing nanotechnology through the eyes of a computer scientist
(Carnegie-Mellon) with a physics background (Stanford).
argues that a great deal of early nano (preassembler) devices must be
developed and understood before moving on.
His example in part one of
his chapter is an early nano-like multi-purpose bioprobe unobtrusively
investigating the immune system in a living organism.
This device is
connected to desk top computers in a normal lab scene.
This is early
The bioprobe was extremely expensive to hand craft
(no assemblers yet exist).
The information from the experiment is
richly rewarding and will be added to a massive library of knowledge
needed to make the sophisticated cell repair machines of a mature
Venture capitalist: There will be many steps to mature nanotechnology
that need financing and because of the novel utility of these
breakthroughs, such first on the block investments should produce
Kaehler goes on to explain away the myth of the Two-Week Revolution,
referring to the concept that very shortly after the building of the
first self replicating assembler, every nanotechnology idea conceived
and nanotech product would spread across the planet and into space
like wild fire. Arguing from the experience of complex systems
builders, Kaehler predicts that lots of debugging and product cycle
improvement are inevitable.
The two-week revolution will not happen.
Two weeks after the first assembler works, it will be in the shop for repairs.
And not many of the things that it builds in those two weeks will work either.
The pervasive use of assemblers in our lives depends on the development of several new fields of study and entire new layers of infrastructures.
It will be a human endeavor operating at human speeds. It wont happen without thousands of cycles of experimental feedback, and it wont
happen in the first two weeks.
Good news for society as we will have, mercifully, more time to adapt.
(Good sources tell me, he argues the other side as well, that while it won't be 2 weeks, it won't be all that long either, especially with
good design ahead.)
3. Cosmetic Nanosurgery
Former senior editor at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories
prestigious monthly, Energy and Technology Review , Richard Crawford
blows the doors off the $18 + Billion Cosmetic industry, showing how
even early nanotechnology can actually deliver on the bogus promises
made today by copywriters for their big business Oil of Old Lady
He shows relatively simple designs for early nanodevices that change
hair color, texture and skin color (I would love a tan in the
No more bitter baldness for male and female. Cast off
unwanted facial and body hair. Such would be converted into CO2, H2O
and sulfur crystals at the source.<
>Enjoy wrinkle repair, full body tight skin well before the assembler.
Later, with cell repair machines working at the molecular level, full
Look completely different every month. Shock your
friends by morphing into a Klingon.
Alas, there is a bleak, dark side, the sleazy underbelly of this
nanotechnology utilization: Inevitably, there will be people who dont
know how to leave well enough alone.
Many who never liked their own
youthful appearance will opt instead to copy some popular model or
other sex symbol.
It could become very confusing, with dozens of
pop-idol look-alikes crowding the parks and boulevards of our future
Some may relish the prospect, but we may never see the
last of the Elvis clones.
(Oh.. My... God..! What did I do in a past life to be sent to this
4. Diamond Teeth
Famed nano D.D.S. Edward M. Reifman also has a B.S. in mechanical
engineering, magna cum laude, and an M.S. in biomedical engineering.
After graduation and before obtaining his D.D.S., Reifman went to work
for Hughes Aircraft designing communications satellites. (Makes
As a warm up for early, then sophisticated nanotechnology, the
Dr. offers some really advanced dental tech like a CAD-CAM system with
a fiber optic wand to quickly take 3D measurements of a tooth to be
capped and a portable milling machine to make perfect caps on the
On to early nano and a hand held (Tricorder like) PET scanner that not only sees in 3D, but detects abnormal bone and gum densities, all
vessels, and specific sites where further tooth or jawbone loss will
likely occur. Then early nanites are introduced to rebuild problem
Nanotechnology will deliver the holy grail of dentistry:
long-lasting, cavity-free teeth. Advanced nanotechnology will deliver
another coup: arresting or neutralizing the genetics behind a
degenerating, aging jawline.
We could eventually see the replacement
of the entire jaw and teeth with diamondoid matrix.
But why stop
there? We can expand this approach to improve or replace the bodys
entire skeletal structure.
5. Early Applications
Harry Chesley is a senior software architect at Macromedia, formally
with Apple Computer and SRI International.
He has designed code for
Chesley presents a nuts and bolts presentation on building
Scale, shape, and energy needs are included.
get a real physical grasp of how these hypothetical mechanical marvels
come together. Like all machines, they are built from components.
Each machine needs storage and computing facilities. It seems that it
will be possible to build a 1,000 MIPS (million instructions per
second) molecular computer that fits inside a cube 0.4 microns
(millionths of a meter) on a side.
This is roughly 1,000 times the
computing power of todays personal computers.
But now on to the fun stuff. In his An Opening Selection, Chesley
offers a long delightful list of early applications, some of which I
present for your enjoyment:
-Board games with billions of moving parts, allowing economic,
logistical, and military games with incredible depth of simulation.
-Full-wall speakers for people
The language and style is easily accessible to those with a basic science education, and it was refreshing that this book avoided the doomsday predictions of nanotechnology and kept the unbounded prediction for when this will all happen to a minimum.
Published in 1996, the content of this book is a good introduction, but is in danger of becoming dated due to the fast moving nature of this field. This might be the first nanotechnology book to read, but not the last for a true fan of the topic. This book might not be for you, if you've been able to read Nanosystems by K. Eric Drexler, but if you want an entertaining walk through visions of future technology, check this one out.