There are some interesting reflections on the recent Ideas Factory Software control of matter from the German journalist Neils Boeing, in a piece called Nano-Elvis vs Nano-Beatles. He draws attention to the irony that a research program with such a Drexlerian feel had as its midwife someone like me, who has been such a vocal critic of Drexlerian ideas. The title comes from an analogy which I find very flattering, if not entirely convincing – roughly translated from the German, he says: “It’s intringuingly reminiscent of the history of pop music, which developed by a transatlantic exchange. The American Elvis began things, but it was the British Beatles who really got the epochal phenomenon rolling. The solo artist Drexler launched his vision on the world, but in practise the crucial developments could made by a British big band of researchers. We have just one wish for the Brits – keep on rocking!” Would that it were so.
In other media, there’s an article by me in the launch issue of the new nanotechnology magazine from the UK’s Insititute of Nanotechnology – NanoNow! (PDF, freely downloadable). My article has the strap-line “Only Skin Deep – Cosmetics companies are using nano-products to tart up their face creams and sun lotions. But are they safe? Richard A.L. Jones unmasks the truth.” I certainly wouldn’t claim to unmask the truth about controversial issues like the use of C60 in face-creams, but I hope I managed to shed a little light on a very murky and much discussed subject.
My column in Nature Nanotechnology this month is called “Can nanotechnology ever prove that it is green?” This is only available to subscribers. As Samuel Johnson wrote, “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” I don’t think he would have approved of blogs.