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Unbounding The Future: The Nanotechnology Revolution
by K. Eric Drexler
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From Publishers Weekly
The team of authors of the fine Engines of Creation has succumbed to a premature sequel in this attempt to envision for the general reader an industrial biotechnology revolution. This update of Engines is two-thirds scenarios, most of them cloying "looking back" reports from a near future of nanotechnology. The authors' stated purpose--to prepare a channel of understanding for a molecular-level industrial revolution--is sound, but their answers beg at least half their own questions. A true molecular industry probably lies just below the horizon of popular science reporting; this ceasarean-style report of its birth obscures nanotechnology's future possibilities without clarifying the present science.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Nanotechnology sounds like a fantasy straight out of Star Wars , but then 50 years ago so did many of the things that we take for granted today--space exploration, computer chips, organ transplants, etc. The term ("Nano" comes from the Greek word meaning "dwarf") refers to "the products and processes of molecular manufacturing, including molecular machinery." The idea of molecular technology was first mentioned in 1959 by Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman, but until fairly recently little was done here. The Japanese, however, forged ahead with research and have built the Nanotechnology Center. Drexler, one of the leading proponents of nanotechnology and author of the only other book on the subject, Engines of Creation ( LJ 6/1/86), offers a fascinating glimpse at this new science that will affect almost every aspect of human existence--environment, agriculture, transportation, communications, medicine, etc. Recommended for academic and public libraries.
- Eugenia C. Adams, Univ. of Houston-Downtown Lib.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
More speculation on the implications of nanotechnology--the manufacture of objects from the atoms up--that is likely, say the authors, to profoundly alter within our lifetimes the course of modern medicine, warfare, the environment, and the world economy. Peterson and Pergamit were collaborators on Drexler's previous Engines of Creation (1986). Five years have passed since Drexler, an MIT graduate and now a Stanford Visiting Scholar, first announced in the popular media the coming of molecule-sized machines that could not only produce extremely reliable, uniform, recyclable, inexpensive, and ``smart'' products (housepaint that smooths and cleans itself; molecular machines that identify and destroy cancer cells; microscopic concoctions that break pollutants down into harmless components) but also could supplant the earth's petroleum-based manufacturing industry with enormously more energy-efficient, precise, and environmentally safe methods. Such technology is not only already technically feasible, the authors claim, but its development, which would dwarf the computer and communications revolutions and could enable Third World countries to skip the dreaded industrial phase of development altogether, is practically a foregone conclusion. Economic competition demands a more concerted and better-funded research-and-development effort by the US (Japan's Tokyo Institute of Technology is already actively exploring nanotechnology's possibilities), while the new technology's potential for revolutionizing weapons manufacture demands public thought and discussion now--before the revolution takes place. Extreme oversimplification of the technical descriptions may be off-putting to readers with more than a high-school education, but intriguing discussions of ethical issues and several sobering future-world scenarios render this an important and provocative bulletin from exploratory engineering's front lines. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
From Book News, Inc.
Nanotechnology involves the ability to manipulate matter on a molecular level with an atom-by-atom level of precision. The authors explain in a nontechnical way what nanotechnology is, how it works, and its potential to radically alter industry, medicine, economics, military research, and the environment. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.
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