I don’t know about anybody else, but I enjoyed yesterday’s nanotechnology debate at Nottingham. The whole thing was filmed, and as soon as it’s been edited and tidied up we’ll get the video put up on the web. Given that everyone will soon have the opportunity to judge for themselves how the thing went, I’ll confine myself here to some general observations. There was a big crowd, mostly graduate students attending the surface science summer school, supplemented by a good fraction of the local nanoscientists. The nature of the audience meant that the debate rapidly got quite technical; I don’t think anyone could say that the molecular manufacturing point of view didn’t get a serious hearing. I must say that I was a little apprehensive, given the rancour that has entered previous debates, but I felt the tone was robust but mutually respectful.
My prize for gnomic aphorism of the evening goes to my fellow-panellist Saul Tendler (bionanotechnologist and pharmacy professor). “If a cat had wheels, who would change its tyres?”