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13 January 2011 Kavli Foundation

The future of nanoscience

Fifty-one years after Richard Feynman envisioned nanoscience in his famous address, "Plenty of Room at the Bottom," four extraordinary researchers joined in a roundtable discussion of the future of nanoscience

When Richard Feynman gave his now-famous talk “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” he outlined with amazing clarity future wonders of nanoscale science and technology
When Richard Feynman gave his now-famous talk “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” he outlined with amazing clarity future wonders of nanoscale science and technology.
Image Credit: Kavli Foundation.

In the late 1950s, Richard Feynman famously imagined a science where researchers and engineers could achieve remarkable feats by manipulating matter and creating structures all the way down to the level of individual atoms.

Now, 51 years after Feyman proposed “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” for science to discover, researchers in nanoscience and nanotechnology are gathering to imagine how this young field may change in the next half a century– and in the process, also change our world. They will be joined by scientists in other fields whose work is already being transformed by nanoscience. Together, they will focus on the great opportunities that lie in scaling up from atomic assembly and individual nanodevices to macroscopic systems and structures with emergent properties and functionality.

The event is the next Kavli Futures Symposium, to be held at the California Institute of Technology on January 15, 2011. For the Symposium, an assembly of pioneering scientists will gather to focus on four key topics in nanoscience: atomic-scale assembly and imaging, mesoscopic quantum coherence, the “nano/bio nexus” and nanotechnology frontiers. Co-chairing the symposium are Michael Roukes, co-director of the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at the California Institute of Technology, and IBM scientist Donald Eigler.

Three of those nanoscientists -- Eigler, MIT materials scientist Angela Belcher and UC Santa Barbara physicist David Awschalom -- joined in a recent teleconference to discuss the upcoming symposium and Feynman’s legacy. Roukes provided additional responses in a subsequent interview. Each of these four is playing a key role in the symposium as co-moderators of sessions on topics where they are recognized scientific leaders.

Source: Kavli Foundation /...

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