December 03, 2003

DEREK LOWE comments on the Eric Drexler / Richard Smalley nanotechnology debate mentioned here earlier:

As a chemist, I've more than a passing interest in this field. Nanotechnology is chemistry, through and through. It's done (going to be done, I should say, if Drexler's right) by other means than the ones I'm used to, but it's atoms and bonds all the way. As a solution-phase classical organic chemist, I look on the advent of what Drexler calls "machine-phase" synthesis with equal parts anticipation and dread. The dread isn't because of some looming catastrophe, just the fear that I'll eventually be invented out of a job.

It's those damn robots again. . . . He promises a longer post in the near future, which I look forward to reading.