IMM News and Events

IMM sponsors session on molecular manufacturing at ASM materials meeting

ASM Materials Solutions 2000, Oct. 9-12, 2000, America's Center in St. Louis, MO. There will be five sessions at this conference (ASM's largest annual event) devoted to nano-materials. One session on Tuesday October 10th, co-sponsored by IMM, is dedicated to molecular nanotechnology. The purpose, and unifying theme of this session, is to provide an overview of molecular nanotechnology to a portion of the materials community that has been largely insulated from progress in this area. This session will be unapologetically biased toward the Foresight Institute/Institute for Molecular Manufacturing view that substantial progress is occurring to develop assembler technology (whether specifically directed to this end or not), and that it has important consequences for all materials systems and the devices made from those materials. Foresight Advisor Dr. Ralph C. Merkle is one of the invited speakers. Web: http://ww


Guidelines for the Development of Molecular Nanotechnology

Guidelines for the Development of Molecular Nanotechnology proposed on June 14, 2000, evolved from a February 1999 workshop in Monterey, Calif., sponsored jointly by the Foresight Institute and the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing.

Neil Jacobstein, Chairman of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing said: "The Foresight Guidelines are an important step in the direction of technologists exercising social responsibility long in advance of deploying molecular nanotechnology. We included a brief review of the issues, as well as development principles and some initial guidelines for device design. The Guidelines represent the beginning of a technology policy dialog, which will succeed over time if researchers, policy experts, and the public work together to understand the specific types of nanotechnology, and their associated benefits and risks. We intend to evolve the Foresight Guidelines into a viable strategy for responsible nanotechnology development."


IMM personnel speak at the Seventh Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology

Talks were given at the Conference (October 15 -17, 1999) by:


"Building Molecular Machine Systems" by K. Eric Drexler

An article by Dr. K. Eric Drexler on "Building Molecular Machine Systems" was published in Trends in Biotechnology, January 1999.


IMM personnel speak at the Sixth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology

Talks were given at the Conference (November 12-15, 1998) by:


Dr. John Storrs Hall appointed as IMM Research fellow

Dr. John Storrs Hall, a computer scientist most recently from Rutgers University, who has lectured and written on nanotechnology and served as moderator of the sci.nanotech news group for the past decade, has been appointed as a Research Fellow at IMM. Besides his work as moderator of the most widely used forum on nanotechnology, Dr. Hall is perhaps best known within the nanotechnology community for his proposal for "Utility Fog", and for his work on reversible logic. Most recently, he spoke at the Fifth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology on the topic "Agoric/Genetic Methods in Stochastic Design".


IMM personnel speak at the Fifth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology

Talks were given at the Conference (November 5-8, 1997) by:


Drexler named to Newsweek's "The Century Club"

K. Eric Drexler, Ph.D., Research Fellow of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, was named by Newsweek as someone they will "be watching in the year 2000 and beyond."

Newsweek (April 21 1997, page 34) ran an article on "The Century Club: A Newsweek list of 100 people to watch as America prepares to pass through the gate to the next millennium."

On page 41, under "Science & Medicine," they list "K. Eric Drexler, 41. Drexler studies the possibilities of molecule-size machines that might be able to repair cells and build microscopic computers." Drexler was one of only 15 people listed under "Science & Medicine".


Merkle shares Kanellakis Award for public-key cryptography

IMM Advisor Dr. Ralph Merkle will share the Association for Computing's (ACM) Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award with the other five founders of public-key cryptography. For more details on the award, see:

Cryptography is the field Dr. Merkle worked in prior to entering computational nanotechnology, where he continues to do ground-breaking work as he did in cryptography.


Merkle speaks at RAND Critical Technologies seminar on nanotechnology

The Critical Technologies Institute at RAND has organized a series of five seminars that "will explore technologies emerging on the horizon of development... The five areas of science that will be explored are electronics (quantum computing), manufacturing (nanotechnology), space (solar- powered space based satellites), energy (antimatter), and biotechnology (biosensors)."

Information is available on their Web page:

IMM Advisor Dr. Ralph Merkle will speak at the seminar "Nanotechnology Applications in a Space-Based Environment," scheduled for Tuesday, March 25, 1997 (but please call to confirm).

In describing the seminar, CTI notes that "Since the 1993 CTI seminar on nanotechnology, the field has developed quickly enough to warrant a second look at this technology. The field has gone from a "what if" to a "how" mode ..."


MIT Technology Review Publishes Article on Molecular Nanotechnology

The February/March issue of MIT's Technology Review includes an article by IMM Advisor Dr. Ralph Merkle on nanotechnology, starting on page 25. The article is available on their Web site:

In this article Dr. Merkle provides a clear introduction to the basic concepts of molecular nanotechnology, and discusses the basic tools that will be necessary to develop the technology, and how they might be developed.

Dr. Merkle has placed a longer, more technical version of this article on his web site:


Drexler speaks at American Society for Quality Control conference

K. Eric Drexler, Ph.D., Research Fellow of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, will speak at the American Society for Quality Control conference in Los Angeles, to be held February 27-28, 1997.

Event: American Society for Quality Control, Quality Audit Division conference
Dates: February 27-28, 1997
Location: Westin Hotel at Los Angeles Airport
Keynote Speaker: Richard Brodie, author, Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme. "Becoming a Vector for the Quality Virus"
Richard Brodie +1.206.688.8600
CEO, Brodie Technology Group, Inc., Bellevue, WA, USA
Do you know what a "meme" is?
Luncheon Speaker: K. Eric Drexler, author, Nanosystems: Molecular Machines, Manufacturing, and Computation. "Quality Auditing for 21st Century Products: the Goal of Atom-by-Atom Precision"
Over the next few decades, manufacturing will undergo a profound change. Advances in miniaturization will bottom out at the level of individual atoms -- more and more, products will be designed and built to atomically-precise specifications.

We can see the early signs of this today in many fields. Pharmaceutical companies routinely design and build drug molecules. Companies such as DuPont design and build proteins for their products. Academic researchers are building small three-dimensional objects of DNA. And atomically-precise probe instruments -- such as the scanning tunneling microscope -- are being used by IBM and Japanese companies to position and even bond single molecules, with the goal of making atomically-precise computer chips.

This will change what we mean by "quality." Today's products have billions of atoms in non-optimal locations, and defects which are huge when considered at the molecular scale. The coming implementation of molecular manufacturing -- also known as nanotechnology -- can redefine quality to include requiring a product to have virtually all its atoms in a specific, designed location.

What will this mean for quality auditing? This change represents a tremendous raising of standards in manufacturing. As in some industries today, quality audits will evaluate processes at scales invisible to the naked eye, eliminating visual inspection as a useful tool. Instead, quality auditors will need to understand and evaluate the molecular manufacturing process itself, which is based on a combination of chemistry, mechanical engineering, and software. To do this effectively, quality auditors will need to become familiar with the technical basics of these new processes -- to think in a three-dimensional way about processes at the atomic level.

I look forward to discussing these issues with you at the February QAD meeting.
Cost: $425 before 2/8, $495 thereafter

To register, call 1-800-248-1946