3 thoughts on “The Nanotech Pioneers – Where are They Taking Us?”

  1. I was interested in a statement you made near the beggining, since it seems related to what I was wondering about when I was at university a few years ago:

    “The gulf between the promises of those who extol nanotechnology and what has been delivered in the marketplace is indeed large: dangerously large in a world where investment in science is predicated on unrealistic expectations of fast economic returns.”

    Do you think it is the case that too much is being expected of risky and uncertain scientific investment these days? Who is doing such research, and where is the research coming from that might lead to breakthroughs in 10 or 20 years?

    I certainly agree with your sentiments expressed near the end:
    “Likewise the author washes his hands of responsibility for any broader societal issues: “Neither nanotechnologists nor the institutions that employ them bear any responsibility for the organisation of society.” I would like to think we can do better than that.”

  2. I do think too many people are expecting too much too soon from academic research at the moment. My review got a long riposte from someone at Seagate, who pointed out that magnetic storage is now a multi-billion dollar industry based on nanotechnology. This is entirely true, but it illustrates my point, in that the key discoveries (in particular the phenomenon of giant magnetoresistance) were made twenty years ago or more, and this is an area oten cited as one in which the road to the market place has been especially fast. I think the rewards from academic research do arrive, and that they well justify the expenditure, but often they come much delayed and by very circuitous routes.

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