[ExI] ExtroBritannia's October event: How Feasible is a Nanofactory?

estropico estropico at gmail.com
Thu Oct 2 17:32:00 UTC 2008

How Feasible is a Nanofactory?

The next ExtroBritannia event is scheduled for Saturday October the
18th 2008; 2:00pm - 4:00pm. Venue: Room 538, 5th floor (via main
lift), Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7HX. The event
is free and everyone's welcome.

Lead speaker: Professor Philip Moriarty, School of Physics and
Astronomy, University of Nottingham

Nanotechnology, and in particular the molecular manufacturing and
nanoassembler concepts first put forward by K Eric Drexler [1] in the
eighties, have been lauded as key enabling technologies to advance the
human condition. At the core of Drexler's approach is the manipulation
of single atoms and molecules using computer-controlled actuators or
probes, which he argues will enable the assembly of "virtually
anything" from basic raw materials [2]. Widely decried in both the
academic scientific community and in a variety of popular science
publications and media [3], this "Drexlarian" molecular nanotechnology
approach has thus yet to be explored or tested experimentally.
Nevertheless, at the core of Drexler's approach there is a
demonstrably valid idea: the controlled positioning and manipulation
of single atoms and molecules using, for example, scanning probe
microscopes. The talk will critically assess Drexler's approach to
nanotechnology from the perspective of an experimental nanoscientist
[4], focussing in particular on the aims and objectives of a
recently-funded programme of work [5] on computer-controlled assembly
of diamond nanostructures.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K._Eric_Drexler
2. http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/8148/8148counterpoint.html
3. http://cohesion.rice.edu/NaturalSciences/Smalley/emplibrary/SA285-76.pdf
4. http://www.softmachines.org/wordpress/?p=70
5. http://crnano.typepad.com/crnblog/2008/08/building-digital-matter.html

The venue: Room 538, 5th floor (via main lift), Birkbeck College,
Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington
Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge
St tube stations. MAP: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/maps

Discussion is likely to continue after the event, in a nearby pub, for
those who are able to stay. There's also the option of joining some of
the UKTA regulars for lunch beforehand, starting c. 1pm at The
Marlborough Arms, 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ. To find us,
look out for a table where there's a copy of Eric Drexler's "Engines
of Creation" displayed.

Our blog: http://extrobritannia.blogspot.com/
Our website: http://www.transhumanist.org.uk/
Our mailing list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/extrobritannia/

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