Inaugural Lecture: Dr K Eric Drexler, “Exploring a timeless landscape: physical law and the future of nanotechnology”

Past Event

10 November 2011, 6:30pm

Examination Schools
75-81 High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BG

This event is hosted by the Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology

Speaker: Dr K. Eric Drexler, Academic Visitor, Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology, (an Oxford Martin School Institute).

Summary: What physics tells us about the potential of advanced nanotechnologies, and why this points to an unexpected future.

A methodology grounded in physics and engineering can answer a limited yet illuminating range of questions about the potential of physical technology. This line of inquiry leads to a crucial question: What can physics tell us about the potential of advanced nanotechnologies? Well-established physical principles show that this potential embraces productive nanotechnologies that have the potential to transform the material basis of civilization. This prospect calls for re-evaluating both research opportunities and broader choices with consequences for the human future.”

Biography: Dr Eric Drexler is a pioneering nanotechnology researcher and author. His 1981 paper in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" established fundamental principles of molecular engineering and identified development paths leading to advanced nanotechnologies. In his 1986 book, "Engines of Creation", he introduced a broad audience to the promise of high-throughput atomically precise manufacturing, a prospective technology using nanoscale machinery to guide molecular motion and bonding, thereby structuring matter from the bottom up.
Dr Drexler’s research in this field has been the basis for numerous journal articles and for a comprehensive, physics-based analysis in his textbook "Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation". In his publications and lectures, Dr. Drexler describes the implementation and applications of advanced nanotechnologies, and their potential impact on global problems.

This lecture will be preceded by an introduction to the Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology by Professor Nick Bostrom, Programme Director.