Tuesday, December 09, 2003

"Smalley, you ........ ...."

The Drexler-Smalley BattleNanoBots have blasted their way into the "permanent record." The New York Times saw fit to print it today in "Yes, They Can! No, They Can't: Charges Fly in Nanobot Debate."

There isn't much new here for regular readers of my NanoBot (experts still disagree over whether this blog defies the laws of journalism.)

I loved the opening paragraphs of Kenneth Chang's piece.

    It wasn't quite Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin tossing insults at each other while ostensibly debating a serious political issue. But an exchange between a Nobel laureate and a nanotechnology visionary last week was reminiscent of that old "Saturday Night Live" sketch.

    The magazine Chemical & Engineering News, which published the exchange in its Dec. 1 issue, even labeled it "Point/Counterpoint," just like the "60 Minutes" debates that Mr. Aykroyd and Ms. Curtin lampooned.

One slight error I should point out for the "official record." The Times says that Drexler "invented the word 'nanotechnology' a couple of decades ago."

Actually, Drexler acknowledges that the term was used "by an author in Japan in the early 1970s (Norio Taniguchi, 1974) to describe, among other things, precision glass polishing. It came into wide use and gained an aura of excitement after 1986, when I used it to label the Feynman vision of nanomachines building products with atomic precision."


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