Drexler–Smalley debate on molecular nanotechnology

Smalley has engaged in open debate with Drexler
The Drexler–Smalley debate on molecular nanotechnology was a public dispute between K.wikipedia
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Foresight Institute

Foresight Institute's Foresight Exchange
He also co-founded the Foresight Institute, a public interest group devoted to increasing public awareness and information about molecular nanotechnology.
A public debate ensued through written papers and letters, dubbed the Drexler-Smalley debate on molecular nanotechnology.

Engines of Creation

Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology1986 discussions of MNT
Drexler went on to publish two books on nanotechnology: Engines of Creation in 1986, which was intended for the public, and the technical work Nanosystems in 1992.
Smalley has engaged in open debate with Drexler, attacking the views presented for what he considered both the dubious nature of the science behind them, and the misleading effect on the public's view of nanotechnology.

K. Eric Drexler

Eric DrexlerDrexler Eric Drexler’s
The Drexler–Smalley debate on molecular nanotechnology was a public dispute between K. Eric Drexler, the originator of the conceptual basis of molecular nanotechnology, and Richard Smalley, a recipient of the 1996 Nobel prize in Chemistry for the discovery of the nanomaterial buckminsterfullerene.

Molecular nanotechnology

nanotechnologyadvanced nanotechnologymolecular
The Drexler–Smalley debate on molecular nanotechnology was a public dispute between K. Eric Drexler, the originator of the conceptual basis of molecular nanotechnology, and Richard Smalley, a recipient of the 1996 Nobel prize in Chemistry for the discovery of the nanomaterial buckminsterfullerene.

Richard Smalley

Richard E. SmalleyRick SmalleySmalley
The Drexler–Smalley debate on molecular nanotechnology was a public dispute between K. Eric Drexler, the originator of the conceptual basis of molecular nanotechnology, and Richard Smalley, a recipient of the 1996 Nobel prize in Chemistry for the discovery of the nanomaterial buckminsterfullerene.

Buckminsterfullerene

buckyballC 60 buckyballs
The Drexler–Smalley debate on molecular nanotechnology was a public dispute between K. Eric Drexler, the originator of the conceptual basis of molecular nanotechnology, and Richard Smalley, a recipient of the 1996 Nobel prize in Chemistry for the discovery of the nanomaterial buckminsterfullerene.

Molecular assembler

molecular manufacturingUniversal Constructorassemblers
The dispute was about the feasibility of constructing molecular assemblers, which are molecular machines which could robotically assemble molecular materials and devices by manipulating individual atoms or molecules.

Molecular machine

nanomachinesnanomachinenanite
The dispute was about the feasibility of constructing molecular assemblers, which are molecular machines which could robotically assemble molecular materials and devices by manipulating individual atoms or molecules.

Open letter

lettersopen lettersopen memorandum
The debate was carried out from 2001 to 2003 through a series of published articles and open letters.

Scientific American

Pour la ScienceScientific American 50Scientific American 50 Award
It began with a 2001 article by Smalley in Scientific American, which was followed by a rebuttal published by Drexler and coworkers later that year, and two open letters by Drexler in early 2003.

Counterargument

counterargumentsrebuttalcounter argument
It began with a 2001 article by Smalley in Scientific American, which was followed by a rebuttal published by Drexler and coworkers later that year, and two open letters by Drexler in early 2003.

Chemical & Engineering News

Chemical and Engineering News
The debate was concluded in late 2003 in a "Point–Counterpoint" feature in Chemical & Engineering News in which both parties participated.

History of nanotechnology

21st Centuryearlier usageTaniguchi's "nano-technology
The debate has been often cited in the history of nanotechnology due to the fame of its participants and its commentary on both the technical and social aspects of nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology

nanosciencenanotechnologiesnanotech
The debate has been often cited in the history of nanotechnology due to the fame of its participants and its commentary on both the technical and social aspects of nanotechnology.

Pissing contest

peeing contestpissing match
It has also been widely criticized for its adversarial tone, with Drexler accusing Smalley of publicly misrepresenting his work, and Smalley accusing Drexler of failing to understand basic science, causing commentators to go so far as to characterize the tone of the debate as similar to "a pissing match" and "reminiscent of [a] Saturday Night Live sketch".

Saturday Night Live

SNLSaturday NightSaturday Night Live!
It has also been widely criticized for its adversarial tone, with Drexler accusing Smalley of publicly misrepresenting his work, and Smalley accusing Drexler of failing to understand basic science, causing commentators to go so far as to characterize the tone of the debate as similar to "a pissing match" and "reminiscent of [a] Saturday Night Live sketch".

Richard Feynman

FeynmanRichard P. FeynmanFeynman, Richard
Trained as an engineer, Drexler was inspired by a then-obscure 1959 talk by physicist Richard Feynman called There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom, which posited that it should be physically possible to manipulate individual atoms using top-down engineering methodologies.

There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom

Trained as an engineer, Drexler was inspired by a then-obscure 1959 talk by physicist Richard Feynman called There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom, which posited that it should be physically possible to manipulate individual atoms using top-down engineering methodologies.

Top-down

top downbig picturetop-down approach
Trained as an engineer, Drexler was inspired by a then-obscure 1959 talk by physicist Richard Feynman called There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom, which posited that it should be physically possible to manipulate individual atoms using top-down engineering methodologies.

Molecular biology

molecular biologistmolecularmolecular biologists
Drexler was also inspired by recent advances in molecular biology such as recombinant DNA technology.

Recombinant DNA

recombinantrecombinant proteingene splicing
Drexler was also inspired by recent advances in molecular biology such as recombinant DNA technology.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

PNASProceedings of the National Academy of SciencesThe Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
In a 1981 publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, considered to be the first journal article on nanotechnology, he argued that biological systems such as the ribosome were already capable of building molecules atom-by-atom, and that artificial machines with this capability could also be constructed.

Ribosome

ribosomesribosomal70S
In a 1981 publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, considered to be the first journal article on nanotechnology, he argued that biological systems such as the ribosome were already capable of building molecules atom-by-atom, and that artificial machines with this capability could also be constructed.

Wet nanotechnology

Drexler drew a distinction between wet nanotechnology based on biological systems, and "second-generation" dry nanotechnology which would be based on mechanosynthesis, positional control of molecules through principles more related to mechanical engineering.

Mechanosynthesis

mechanically positioning reactive molecules
Drexler drew a distinction between wet nanotechnology based on biological systems, and "second-generation" dry nanotechnology which would be based on mechanosynthesis, positional control of molecules through principles more related to mechanical engineering.