Thursday, November 21, 2013

ISEPP Kick Off: 2013-2014

Terry picked a great speaker to kick off the lecture season this year.   Eric Drexler is a clear thinker who really helped get the ball rolling on nanotechnology.  Skip Rung, ONAMI director, gave the intro for obvious reasons.

Drexler was very aware and conscious of this being a Linus Pauling Memorial Lecture.  Not all of our speakers take that so much to heart, and they're not required to, but it so happens that "nanotechnology" was greatly aided and abetted as a field by the work of Linus Pauling.  Eric tried to convey how some people become so important and pervasive in their influence that you don't directly name them anymore.  Speaking of which, I think he managed to not say "fullerene" the whole lecture, though nano-tubes and graphene were key themes.  We don't have to cite Newton every time we use the word Gravity either.

What happened to nanotechnology is that the term became highly politicized, such that Eric has to do extra work up front to carve out the space that most interests him:  the space of building very tiny nano machines, like with gears.  These would work together in nano-factories to produce nano objects by the billions.  This kind of thing already happens in the electronics industry.

We're already surrounded by nano-devices and maybe don't call them that.

The future is bright, in terms of "more with less" continuing to mean something.  It twas a "Dymaxion Evening" with "dymaxion" being Fuller's coin for the "more with less" concept.

Eric's chart about exploratory engineering reminded me a lot about my GST "limits of language" poster.  He colors in a "forbidden zone" where realistic science fiction cannot tread, more the realm of fantasy.

However even within the "allowed zone" one might boost living standards to a point where the "war no more" people had a winning hand.