Guiding the Evolution of Things
Technology Review (MIT)
Vol. 108, Num. 2
Reiss, a contributing editor to WIRED Magazine, interviews Angela Belcher, a MIT materials chemist and 2004 MacArthur Fellow. Belcher, a "materials chemist," studies nature for the mechanisms that govern the chemistry of materials, and has, among other ventures, "engineer[ed] viruses to build computer chips." Working across disciplines, she is developing microchips with features about a tenth the size of current products. For her company, Cambrios Technologies, "the aim is to work our way through the whole periodic table and be able to design materials of all kinds in a controlled way. My biggest goal is to have a DNA sequence that can code for the synthesis of any useful material." Belcher is exploring the use of viruses and yeasts as design/self-assembly factories for wholly new materials.