[extropy-chat] amazing nanomotors

Hal Finney hal at finney.org
Fri Apr 8 17:48:16 UTC 2005

Scerir writes:

> http://www.physics.berkeley.edu/research/zettl/highlights.html
> (see also the pictures and videos section)
> s.
> "In the late 1950s Richard Feynman
> issued a public challenge by offering
> $1000 to the first person to create
> an electrical motor "smaller than 1/64th
> of an inch". Much to Feynman's consternation
> the young man who met this challenge,
> William McLellan, did so by investing
> many tedious and painstaking hours building
> the device by hand using tweezers and a microscope. 
> McLellan's motor now sits in a display case at the 
> California Institute of Technology and has long 
> since ceased to spin." Pics from Caltech archives:
> http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/14/2/8/1/pw1402081

It was still spinning when I was a student there in the 1970s, so it did
last pretty long.  (It wasn't constantly spinning, you pushed a button
on the display case to make it spin.)  Last time I checked they had a
diamagnetic levitation display in that case.

Feynman had hoped to motivate some new technology research with his
prize and was disappointed that he had set the bar so low that it was
possible to meet his requirements with patience and craftsmanship rather
than new ideas.


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