The Manipulation of Matter – Visions of the Future (3)

January 9, 2008

In The Quantum Revolution, the final episode of BBC4’s Visions of the Future series, Michio Kaku explores the influence that our understanding of fundamental aspects of physics may have on our lives in the future. After outlining the origins and impact of quantum theory within physics during the 1960s (and on his own career path), Kaku describes how its implications have given us a new, and unprecedented power to manipulate matter at the atomic level.

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Michio Kaku presents Visions of the Future: The Quantum Revolution (BBC4, Nov 19 2007, 21:00)

The episode is effectively split into two halves. The first deals predominately with the the implications of quantum theory for energy production – specifically the possibility of truly sustainable, renewable energy sources – in the future; the second with the potential development of nanotechnology. The latter is the more bio-relevant and will be the focus of this commentary (approximately 00: 32:00 to 00:50:00).

Kaku describes nanotechnology as giving us the ability to “redesign the world by building with atoms” (00:32:05) and to control “the fundamentals of nature” (00:32:13). In introducing the viewer to nanotechnology, Kaku makes reference to what could be called ‘natural nanobots’ and states that “the goal of nanotechnology is to create living machines on the scale of cells like proteins, DNA or bacteria, and design them to perform equally complex tasks” (00:33:00). Specifically, he identifies three areas in which developments in nanotechnology may have a significant impact: bioremediation, biomedicine and the military. Read the rest of this entry »

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