Feynman's Unfinished Business
Vol. 4, Num. 12
Jones looks back at Feynmans famous speech but, unlike others, he chooses to concentrate on the ways in which Feynman was not a nanotechnological visionary or the ways in which the field strayed from his path. Jones points out that Feynman had looked at the promise of manipulation on the nanoscale for its potential in the computer industry more than anything else, and that the IBM written by Eigler and Schweizer in 1990 was not something Feynman would ever have predicted. Feynman also kept his predictions out of the ordinary, never really addressing the practical issues that could lead to the more astonishing applications he predicted would be possible. Even the nanobot that is often credited to Feynman was actually conceived by his friend Al Hibbs (which Feynman said in his lecture). If nothing else, Jones concludes that the visionary aspect that guides nanotechnology can be traced directly to Feynman, and that alone is contribution enough.