Nano What? (an Outline)

Nano What?

 

I.               Introduction

A.   Opening Device

                                             1.     How many people have heard of K. Eric Drexler?

                                             2.     K. Eric Drexler’s 1986 book, Engines of Creation, speaks of a world free of hunger, poverty, and disease. In his world, people live hundreds of years. The environment is free of pollution.  And space travel is as common as driving a car. This world Drexler envisions, is Earth in 10 to 30 years.  On what basis does Drexler make such far-out and seemingly ridiculous predictions? On the growing field of nanotechnology.  Some scientists dismiss Drexler’s vision as nothing more than nonsense.  However, Drexler’s book has sparked the interest and curiosity of many others, and has made nanotechnology one of the most talked about technological idea in recent years.

B.    Thesis: With limitless applications, nanotechnology has the power to change the world’s future in unimaginable ways.

C.    Today, I will broadly discuss what nanotechnology is and the future uses for it.

II.             Body

A.   What is Nanotechnology?

                                             1.     General Theory

a.     May, Mike.  (1999, September).  Nanotechnology: thinking small.  Environmental Health Perspectives, 107, 450-451. Retrieved September 1, 2001, from OCLC FirstSearch database, Article No. BGSI99054760.

b.     The late physicist Richard Feynman stated “the principles of physics, as far as I can see, do not speak against the possibility of maneuvering things atom by atom.”

                                             2.     The scale at which nanotechnology takes place - [Show slide illustrating the size of atoms. Includes definition and statistic.]

                                             3.     Fundamental/Theoretical Processes of Nanotechnology – [Show slide of concept drawings of assemblers and self-replication.]

a.     Positional Assembly – Products are built by assemblers, placing each atom where it should be. Compare them to miniaturized machines in factories.

b.     Self Replication – The assemblers, or nanobots, have the ability to copy themselves like cells.  Trillions of assemblers would be needed for nanotechnology.

                                             4.     When will it happen? - Some scientist predict Drexler’s future may occur in 10 to 30 years, while other see it happening much later, and others see it never happening.

i.      Service, Robert F.  (2000, November 24).  Is nanotechnology dangerous?  Science, 290, 1526-7. Retrieved September 1, 2001, from OCLC FirstSearch database, Article No. BGSI00141243.

ii.     Richard Smalley, a Nobel Prize-winning chemist at Rice University in Houston, Texas, said about nanotechnology, “To put it bluntly, I think it’s impossible.”

B.    Future Uses for Nanotechnology

                                             1.     Manufacturing of Goods [Despite that fact that no one has got nanotechnology to work as described by Drexler, there has been no shortage of imaginative uses for the technology.]

a.     Human labor not required except for software development

b.     Endless supply of resources – atoms can be obtained from air, soil, water

c.     Even food could be “manufactured” [According to…]

i.      Stix, Gary.  (1996, April). Waiting for breakthroughs. Scientific American, 274, 94-9. Retrieved September 1, 2001, from OCLC FirstSearch database, Article No. BGSI96011193.

ii.     “A home food-growing machine could rapidly culture cells from a cow to create a steak, a godsend to the animal-rights movement.”

d.     Goods will be inexpensive, durable, smart, and plentiful.

e.     The concept of money, wealth, and labor may become non-existent

f.      No value to things like diamond

                                             2.     Health and Medicine

a.     Nanobots in the body

i.      Merkle, Ralph C.  (2001, January).  Nanotechnology: what will it mean? IEEE Spectrum, 38, 19-21.  Retrieved September 1, 2001, from IEEE Xplore database, Article No. 6822847.

ii.     Ralph C. Merkle, a respected researcher of nanotechnology, said, “Medical nanorobots smaller than a human cell will be able to eliminate cancer, infections, clogged arteries, and even old age.”

b.     Psychological impact of never biologically dying. – What will happen to population?

                                             3.     Technological Abuse – [With all the good that nanotechnology can offer, it can also make our worst nightmares come to life.]

a.     Giving unrestricted wealth and power to anyone

b.     For example, mass weapons development:

i.      Drexler, Eric K., Peterson, C., & Pergamit, G. (1991).  Unbounding the Future: the Nanotechnology Revolution, New York: William Morrow.

ii.     “The sheer productive capabilities of molecular manufacturing will make it possible to move from a working weapons prototype to mass production in a matter of days.”

III.           Conclusion

A.   Nanotechnology can be compared to no other previous technical development in history. It has the power to change our world, change how we live, and change how we think.

B.    With the current research going on today, we stand on the verge of this nano-revolution.  It might be that during our lifetimes we’ll see if nanotechnology proves to be a giant “leap or fall for mankind.”


Reference List

Drexler, Eric K., Peterson, C., & Pergamit, G. (1991).  Unbounding the Future: the Nanotechnology Revolution, New York: William Morrow.

May, Mike.  (1999, September).  Nanotechnology: thinking small.  Environmental Health Perspectives, 107, 450-451. Retrieved September 1, 2001, from OCLC FirstSearch database, Article No. BGSI99054760.

Merkle, Ralph C.  (2001, January).  Nanotechnology: what will it mean? IEEE Spectrum, 38, 19-21.  Retreived September 1, 2001, from IEEE Xplore database, Article No. 6822847.

Service, Robert F.  (2000, November 24).  Is nanotechnology dangerous?  Science, 290, 1526-7. Retrieved September 1, 2001, from OCLC FirstSearch database, Article No. BGSI00141243.

Stix, Gary.  (1996, April). Waiting for breakthroughs. Scientific American, 274, 94-9. Retrieved September 1, 2001, from OCLC FirstSearch database, Article No. BGSI96011193.

TRIUMF. (1997, January). Basics for the non-scientist.  Retrieved September 4, 2001 from http://www.triumf.ca/welcome/basics.html.