Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Nanotechnology Explained in a Global Comfort

The world of technology has always moved quickly and it's not uncommon for technologists to be obsessed with "the next big thing." Much attention has been placed on the life sciences, biotechnology and the world of wireless. Another area where the buzz has been picking up is in the elusive world of 'nanotechnology.' But what just is nanotechnology?

This and other questions were all answered on Wednesday, January 30th at our Stardust Circle and Cocktails with Courtney evening at Globix's Santa Clara headquarters. The panel of specialists included AngstroVision, Inc. CEO Scott Mize, Quantum Polymer Technologies CEO Stephen Nett, Foresight Institute president Christine Peterson. Niehaus Ryan Wong's CEO
Ed Niehaus was our expert emcee for the night.

Chris summed up the definition best by stating that to think of nanotechnology as an industry is like comparing microtechnology to an industry. Nanotechnology is more of a tool that will help applications and technology in many fields like defense, medical and consumer. It is used in areas like molecular electronics, nanobiotechnology, nanomaterials, power and processes (like batteries and fuel cells) and tools like imaging devices that can can pictures and manipulate matter and carbon nano tubes.

While development is already happening in the areas of tools and materials, the panelists were quick to point out that development in these areas usually have a long cycle. As a result, doing as much development in software becomes vital.

Of course major breakthroughs in any of these areas won't be for about ten more years and the first areas where they might be will be in artificial bionics.  One audience member brought up the problems of needing "clean" environments for development so materials don't lose their integrity.

Ed pointed out that at the end of the day nanotechnology is about making things. You need to ask yourself, "did you make something and if so, was it good." With that he summed up the comments and kicked off the cocktail party by tossing some of my good ol' good-luck-pixie-dust across the podium.

Afterwards guests were able to enjoy Bombay Sapphire cocktails and delicious hors d'oeuvres provided by Globix. I chatted with Autodesk's Kelly Stanphill, Nanologic founder and president Robert Schmeider and Worldwide Capital Partners's Jim Hurd. San Francisco Consulting Group's Marc Rothchild told me about their event calendar and

Because nanotechnology includes all chemistry, she said the panel could be retitled an "Intro to Chemistry" but probably not too many people would come to that one!