Philosophical Society of Washington

Nanotechnology

Hype, Hope, and Prey

James S. Murday
Office of Naval Research


2175th Meeting Abstract
Friday, March 19, 2004 at 8:15 PM

Abstract:

There is a high degree of interest and progress in the science of nanostructures by the world's science/engineering communities. Numerous world-wide governmental science funding programs have been instituted to provide the resources necessary to augment the rate of science discovery and to develop technology options. It is apparent that the science of nanostructures will lead to major impact in commercial products. For instance, by the end of this decade competitive electronic products in sensing, processing, storage, display and communication will all be enabled by the properties of nanostructures. While not so easy to forecast, nanostructures will also enable many new approaches to medicine and health products – contrast agents for MRI being one example already in the marketplace. Likewise, general purpose uses of nanostructures such as in sunscreen agents, low gas permeability packaging, and fire resistant composites are already entering the marketplace. Will nanotechnology become so pervasive as to warrant the designation of a new “industrial revolution?” Will it lead to the horror of Crichton's Prey? How is the U.S. positioned in this global effort? This talk will provide insights into the present state of nanoscience and some expectations for its potential impacts.

About the Author:

James S. Murday received a B.S. in Physics from Case Western Reserve in 1964, and a Ph.D. in Solid State Physics from Cornell in 1970. He joined the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in 1970, led the Surface Chemistry effort from 1975-1987, and has been Superintendent of its Chemistry Division since 1988. From May to August 1997 he served as Acting Director of Research for the Department of Defense, Research and Engineering. He is a member of the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society and the Materials Research Society; and a fellow of the American Vacuum Society (AVS), and the UK Institute of Physics. For the AVS, he has served as trustee for 1981-1984, director for 1986-1988, representative to the American Institute of Physics Governing Board 1986-1992, president for 1991-93, and representative to the Federation of Materials Societies 1998-present. His research interest in nanoscience began in 1983 as an Office of Naval Research program officer and continues through the NRL Nanoscience Institute. He has organized numerous International STM/NANO conferences and their proceedings. Under his direction, both the AVS and the International Union for Vacuum Science, Technology and Applications created a Nanometer Science/Technology Division. He is Executive Secretary to the U.S. National Science and Technology Council's Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science Engineering and Technology (NSET). Currently he is Chief Scientist at the Office of Naval Research.


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