The BBC’s Reith Lectures cover nanotechnology

Every year the BBC broadcasts a series of radio lectures on some rather serious subject, given by an appropriately weighty public intellectual. This year’s series is called “The triumph of technology”, and the fourth lecture (to be broadcast at 8 pm on the 27th April), is devoted to nanotechnology and nanoscience. The lecturer is Lord Broers, who certainly qualifies as a prominent member of that class that the British call the Great and Good. He’s recently stepped down from being Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, he’s President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and is undoubtedly an ornament to a great number of important committees. But what’s interesting is that he does describe himself as a nanotechnologist. His early academic work was on scanning electron microscopy and e-beam lithography, and before returning to academia he did R&D for IBM.

The introductory lecture – Technology will Determine the Future of the Human Race – has already been broadcast; you can read the text or download an MP3 from the BBC website. This first lecture is rather general, so it will be interesting to see if he develops any of his themes in more unexpected directions.