Foresight Institute

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This article is about the nanotechnology policy organization. For the similar-sounding craniofacial research institute, see The Forsyth Institute.

The Foresight Institute is a Palo Alto, California-based nonprofit organization for promoting transformative technologies. They sponsor conferences on molecular nanotechnology, publish reports, and produce a newsletter.

The Foresight Institute has several running prizes, including the annual Feynman Prizes given in experimental and theory categories, and the $250,000 Feynman Grand Prize for demonstrating two molecular machines capable of nanoscale positional accuracy and computation.[1]


The Institute was founded in 1986 by Christine Peterson, who serves on the Board of Directors, and K. Eric Drexler, who is no longer with the Institute.

Two sister organizations were formed: the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing and the Center for Constitutional Issues in Technology.

The Institute was founded "to guide emerging technologies to improve the human condition" but focused "its efforts upon nanotechnology, the coming ability to build materials and products with atomic precision, and upon systems that will enhance knowledge exchange and critical discussion".[2] In May 2005, the Foresight Institute changed its name to "Foresight Nanotech Institute" and narrowed its mission to "ensure beneficial implementation of nanotechnology. Foresight is accomplishing this by providing balanced, accurate and timely information to help society understand and utilize nanotechnology through public policy activities, publications, guidelines, networking events, tutorials, conferences, roadmaps and prizes."[3]

In June 2009, the institute reverted to its original name, and broadened its mission to "studying transformative technologies".[4]


The mission is to promote the development and beneficial use of nanotechnologies and to reduce the potential for misuse and accidents associated with them.[5] Foresight is committed to promoting the use of nanotechnology to provide renewable clean energy, supply clean water, improve health and longevity, heal and preserve the environment, make information technology available to all, and to enable space settlement.[6]

See also[edit]


  • Smith, Richard Hewlett. "A Policy Framework for Developing a National Nanotechnology Program", Master of Science thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1998, available at Digital Library and Archives

External links[edit]