Saturday, January 06, 2007

Nano Origins

A new book out by science writer Steven A. Edwards called The Nanotech Pioneers: Where Are They Taking Us presents a history of nanotechnology. The author focuses on the contributions of scientists and policy makers including Feynman, Roco, Drexler, and so on. The December 2006 issue of Nature Nanotechnology provides favorable discussion of the book and Amazon's page for it includes a review by someone calling it the "best history of nanotechnology ever written."

I'm still waiting for my copy and I will be curious to see who else makes an appearnce in this book and how nano's relation to more established fields like materials science is presented. Unlike the discovery of nuclear fission or the transistor, nanoscience cannot trace its origins to a discrete set of events or a few people working at one or two laboratories. Moreover, it remains to be seen which scientific discoveries will prove seminal to the nano enterprise. I suspect these issues will continue to make tracing the history of nano quite challenging. I'll send some additional comments after I've had a chance to give it a read.

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