A couple months ago we noted that Abundance , by Foresight Advisor Peter Diamandis and science writer Steven Kotler hit #1 on both Amazon and BarnesAndNoble. On Wednesday, April 11, Singularity University will present a live webcast with co-founder and chairman Peter H. Diamandis on Abundance : Diamandis will present the case that the world is getting better at an accelerating rate through the convergence of four powerful forces: the exponential advancement of technology, DIY (Do It Yourself) innovators, Techno-philanthropists, and the Rising Billion, which, acting together, will create abundance in the areas of clean water, nutritious food, affordable housing, personalized education, top-tier global health care, and ubiquitous energy – helping to solve humanity’s biggest challenges. Diamandis co-authored Abundance with award-winning technology writer Steven Kotler, bringing together decades of data and extensive interviews with hundreds of innovators and entrepreneurs, including Larry Page, Steven Hawking, Dean Kamen, Daniel Kahneman, Elon Musk, Bill Joy, Stewart Brand, Jeff Skoll, Ray Kurzweil, Ratan Tata, and Craig Venter. The Wall Street Journal called Abundance “a manifesto for the future that is grounded in practical solutions.” The Economist Magazine said it was “a godsend for those who suffer from Armageddon fatigue!” Sir Richard Branson said: “Abundance provides proof that the proper combination of technology, people and capital can meet any grand challenge.” Peter Diamandis co-founded Singularity University with Ray Kurzweil in 2008, and currently serves as its Chairman and a member of the Faculty. He is also Founder and Chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation, which leads the world in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs in the areas of exploration, energy and environment, education, global development and life sciences. Diamandis is a leading speaker on innovation, counseling senior business leaders how to utilize exponential technologies and incentivized innovation to dramatically accelerate their business and career objectives. Dr. Diamandis earned a BS in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering from MIT, and an MD from Harvard Medical School. He is also known for “Peter’s Laws,” including “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!” Webcast participation requires registration. Questions can be submitted in advance or during the webcast via Twitter (#whichwaynext). —James Lewis, PhD
Archive for April, 2012
Miguel F. Aznar , Foresight’s Director of Education, sends the following nanotechnology education items. Nano Outreach and Education in Ibero America NanoDYF promotes nanoscience / nanotechnology outreach and education in Ibero America. The NanoDYF 2012 conference in Puebla, Mexico 2012 June 11 – 13, will draw together leaders in research, education, business, and politics to share discoveries and discuss objectives for this outreach. I will present on critical thinking about nanotechnology. More information is at http://www.nanodyf.org/ (use translate.Google.com if you don’t read Spanish). The NanoMex 2012 Conference runs immediately afterward, June 13 – 15, at the same location. Buckyball Toy Would you like a Buckyball model to hang from your ceiling? Trying to teach someone how hexagons and pentagons drive the shape of C 60 ? Would you like to see which size Buckyballs can form? Having trouble visualizing armchair and zig-zag carbon nanotubes? Would you like to let your mind wander while toying with shapes that carbon can form? About $3 lets you model a C 60 . Buy 2 x $3 to model C 70 , C 76 , C 82 , etc. Buy more to model carbon nanotubes. These are not general purpose models. Each “carbon” is black plastic with 3 equally distributed bonding bumps in a plane and “bonds” are white plastic tubes that fit snugly over the bumps. One of the three bonds is an implied double bond, so if identifying it is important, a permanent marker is easiest. Spray-painting 1/3 of the tubes might look better. Diamond cannot be modeled with this kit, as it requires all four bonds exposed for tetrahedral bonding. Also, this kit is much smaller than the near-standard Prentice-Hall molecular modeling kits. It will not connect to those. The model is easy to assemble, but holds together for hanging, handing around, or rolling on the floor. The least expensive I’ve found is at Suntekstore.com, which ships free out of Hong Kong. See here . If you would like to sponsor a school by providing a class-set of these kits, I would be happy to facilitate ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). Swiss Children Learn Nano Fundamentals The Switzerland-based Innovation Society has developed SimplyNano 1 (use translate.Google, if you don’t read German), an experiment kit being distributed to 7th – 10th grade classrooms in Switzerland. It focuses on nano dimensions, surfaces, and reactivity. It includes teaching guides plus materials to make a Lego + laser model of an atomic force microscope. Read a short article translated to English . I have not received a kit yet, but if as good as it looks and priced reasonably, it could improve nano education in the US. When / if I can answer these questions in the affirmative, I will repost and welcome those who would like to sponsor a school for acquiring a set of these kits. Miguel F. Aznar Director of Education Foresight Institute
285-micron racecar (credit: Vienna University of Technology) For those interested in atomically precise manufacturing, 3D-printing is an interesting microscale technology for making centimeter-scale objects. We commented on this technology a few months ago with the introduction of two competing technologies for printing complex digitally-designed plastic consumer items. Foresight Senior Associate Charles Vollum sends word of the extension of 3D-printing to nanoscale (approximately 100 nm) resolution. In addition, the new procedure is much faster and enables true 3D fabrication, without requiring layer-by-layer fabrication. A hat tip to KurzweilAI for describing this Vienna University of Technology news release “ 3D-printer with nano-precision “: Printing three dimensional objects with incredibly fine details is now possible using “two-photon lithography”. With this technology, tiny structures on a nanometer scale can be fabricated. Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) have now made a major breakthrough in speeding up this printing technique: The high-precision-3D-printer at TU Vienna is orders of magnitude faster than similar devices (see video). This opens up completely new areas of application, such as in medicine. The video shows the 3d-printing process in real time. Due to the very fast guiding of the laser beam, 100 layers, consisting of approximately 200 single lines each, are produced in four minutes. Setting a New World Record The 3D printer uses a liquid resin, which is hardened at precisely the correct spots by a focused laser beam. The focal point of the laser beam is guided through the resin by movable mirrors and leaves behind a polymerized line of solid polymer, just a few hundred nanometers wide. This high resolution enables the creation of intricately structured sculptures as tiny as a grain of sand. “Until now, this technique used to be quite slow”, says Professor J
Christine Peterson, Foresight Co-Founder & Past President August 8, 2012 Stanford University, Stanford, CA USA Exploring the frontiers of knowledge and imagination, fostering interdisciplinary networking Foresight Institute co-founder and Past President Christine Peterson will speak at the Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous of August 2012, chaired by Piero Scaruffi. Her talk is scheduled from 8:30-8:55pm and is titled “The Nanocentury: Bringing Digital Control to the Physical World”.
An artist’s rendering of BIND-014. Image credit: Digizyme, Inc. We have often reported here that targeted nanoparticles to treat cancer have shown great promise in animal studies. An MIT news release written by Anne Trafton now informs us that “ Targeted nanoparticles show success in clinical trials “: Targeted therapeutic nanoparticles that accumulate in tumors while bypassing healthy cells have shown promising results in an ongoing clinical trial, according to a new paper. The nanoparticles feature a homing molecule that allows them to specifically attack cancer cells, and are the first such targeted particles to enter human clinical studies. Originally developed by researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the particles are designed to carry the chemotherapy drug docetaxel, used to treat lung, prostate and breast cancers, among others. In the study, which appears April 4 in the journal Science Translational Medicine [ abstract ], the researchers demonstrate the particles’ ability to target a receptor found on cancer cells and accumulate at tumor sites. The particles were also shown to be safe and effective: Many of the patients’ tumors shrank as a result of the treatment, even when they received lower doses than those usually administered. “The initial clinical results of tumor regression even at low doses of the drug validates our preclinical findings that actively targeted nanoparticles preferentially accumulate in tumors,” says Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor in MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering and a senior author of the paper. “Previous attempts to develop targeted nanoparticles have not successfully translated into human clinical studies because of the inherent difficulty of designing and scaling up a particle capable of targeting tumors, evading the immune system and releasing drugs in a controlled way.” The Phase I clinical trial was performed by researchers at BIND Biosciences, a company cofounded by Langer and Omid Farokhzad in 2007. “This study demonstrates for the first time that it is possible to generate medicines with both targeted and programmable properties that can concentrate the therapeutic effect directly at the site of disease, potentially revolutionizing how complex diseases such as cancer are treated,” says Farokhzad, director of the Laboratory of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, associate professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and a senior author of the paper. … The news release goes on to detail several features of these nanoparticles that may be useful in evaluating other types of nanoparticles that are currently at earlier stages of development and have only been tested in animal models. First of all, nanoparticles of many different compositions have been developed, from gold to DNA. These, called AccurinsTM , use clinically validated biocompatible polymers and incorporate a “stealth” layer to avoid removal by the immune system. As explained in the news release: One of the challenges in developing effective drug-delivery nanoparticles, Langer says, is designing them so they can perform two critical functions: evading the body’s normal immune response and reaching their intended targets. “You need exactly the right combination of these properties, because if they don’t have the right concentration of targeting molecules, they won’t get to the cells you want, and if they don’t have the right stealth properties, they’ll get taken up by macrophages,” says Langer, also a member of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. The BIND-014 nanoparticles have three components: one that carries the drug, one that targets PSMA, and one that helps evade macrophages and other immune-system cells. A few years ago, Langer and Farokhzad developed a way to manipulate these properties very precisely, creating large collections of diverse particles that could then be tested for the ideal composition. “They systematically made a set of materials that varied in the properties they thought would matter, and developed a way to screen them. That’s not been done in this kind of setting before,” says Mark Saltzman, a professor of biomedical engineering at Yale University who was not involved in this study. “They’ve taken the concept from the lab into clinical trials, which is quite impressive.” The systematic way in which these researchers addressed multiple variables and issues gives us some indication of what will be required to move nanoparticles and other nanotherapeutics from laboratory studies into clinical trials. —James Lewis, PhD